Every year Nucleus chooses a charity partner, an organisation we commit to supporting with a range of different fundraising activities throughout the year. Last year, we were proud to support the Scottish Association for Mental Health, known as SAMH, and raised a massive £42,000 in total.
This year we are supporting The Yard, which provides adventure play opportunities for disabled children and young people. Annually The Yard works with over 2,200 children, creating a community where young people have fun and adults are free from judgement.
We choose our charity partner by opening it up to the company via a staff survey. People can nominate any organisation they like, subject to a few due diligence questions. From those results, we pick the top three most popular charities. When we went through the process towards the end of last year, The Yard stood out by an absolute mile as everyone’s chosen charity.
In previous years, we’ve done volunteering days with The Yard, so people who have been with us for a while have already engaged with them. Others will have children and either use The Yard’s facilities or know of parents and children that use them. They’ve also run corporate days which staff have attended before as well.
The fundraising target we have set ourselves is an ambitious one of £50,000. This is £10,000 more than last year’s target. Our chief executive David Ferguson sets the target, and when he said £50,000 I realised we had a big job to do! But everyone has been so enthusiastic, and we have a fantastic charity committee with lots of ideas.
I had high hopes for our recent annual conference at the Belfry, and I wasn’t disappointed – our very own Chris Macdonald hosted a charity auction and raised over £19,000 on the night. A huge thanks to all those who supported the auction with prizes, and of course, to those who bid.
I’m head of the charity committee this year, and I’ve always been interested in the charity side of things. Responsibility for our charity work sits within the people and development team, which I joined a few months ago from client relations. Basically my role as head of the charity committee involves planning our activities, and chivvying up the maximum interest in as many of our fundraising activities as possible.
There’s around 10 of us that sit on the charity committee. I remember sending out an initial email telling people about The Yard and how much we’re looking to raise, and looking for people to be a part of it. Within minutes people were emailing back to say they were interested, which was great. The committee is drawn from across the business, and it’s a completely different team this year compared with last year. Some people decided to take a step back, for example Amy Irving in the communications team has been so involved for so many years, she’s done an incredible job.
People have always dived right in when to comes to supporting our chosen charity, and especially when it comes to the variety of things that get suggested and organised. As well as the usual races and marathons, this month we’re also running a miniature model making competition, with prizes for the best model and the funniest and most imaginative creations.
One of the things that is so great about the charity events we run is it’s a chance to get to know the people you work with so much more. A couple of years ago we did Total Warrior, an obstacle race with ice, mud and fire thrown into the mix for good measure. Just by doing the training once a week, I got to know so many people I’d never even spoken to before. Some people I knew them to say hi to, but once somebody’s carried you on their back up a hill you do know them a little bit better!
Our plans for the year
So apart from the model making, we’ve had a tartan wearing day in honour of Burns Night. For a Scottish company, there wasn’t enough tartan! We’re also running a toy sale, a couple of wine tasting evenings, and an Easter-themed bake sale to help us all get through tax-year end. There’s also a ‘retro tournament’ week, involving retro games, t-shirts and a quiz, all of which went down a storm last year.
We’ll also have various sweepstakes running through the year, for things like Wimbledon and Strictly Come Dancing. For the sporty types there’s a half-marathon, abseiling from the Forth Road Bridge, and the North Coast 500 cycle. If that’s not up people’s street we’re also thinking of running a pamper night, a poker night and a race night.
We’re conscious the sports stuff isn’t for everyone, and for those kinds of events sometimes a ‘support crew’ is needed to help those taking part. Some people prefer that kind of role. There are volunteering days at The Yard people can help with as well. Money is obviously very important, but it’s not all about that – giving up your time is worthwhile too.
We’re also going to run an initiative called ‘parcel pennies’. A lot of people get stuff delivered to the office, and we’re going to ask for 50p to go in our donation pot every time someone gets their parcels delivered here.
We’re going to try and keep people as updated as possible about how the fundraising total is going. Previously we’ve found out at the end of the year, but with such an ambitious target I think it’s good to keep track of how we’re doing through the year.
Having a charity partner is important to Nucleus because we can do so much. We may be a relatively small company, but we’re a massively enthusiastic one too. It gets us out and about doing things we wouldn’t normally do, like abseiling off the Forth Road Bridge! It also helps us get to know each other better, which can only be good for the company. There’s always been that drive at Nucleus to do things better, whether that’s helping advisers or expanding that reach into our local community.
By partnering with The Yard we can raise their profile, raise awareness of what they do, and hopefully raise a lot of money too.