By Victoria Davey, partner and head of operations, Yorkshire law firm Gordons
Each year we select a different charity to support for a 12-month period. We invite everyone at the firm to nominate a charity, our charity committee shortlists from the nominations and then our people get the final vote on which charity we choose.
We know from experience that charities with a regional presence and impact work best for us. It is great to have representatives from the charity along to speak to our teams or attend client events where we are raising money for them. Our people also like to see the funds they raise making a difference in the region.
We like to support charities where there are opportunities to do more than just raise money. You have to be careful about repeatedly asking the same people to sponsor events, so we aim to select charities where we can give our time as well as money.
Many of us at Gordons are very happy to volunteer our time. Last year, we supported disadvantaged youngsters’ charity KidsOut and were able to hold cinema trips for the children which we arranged, funded and hosted. We also held a Christmas party in our offices with a visit from Father Christmas and his elves.
Supporting Centrepoint Bradford
This year we are supporting Centrepoint Bradford. We were extremely impressed with the work the charity is doing in Bradford when Centrepoint’s representative visited our offices to tell us about everything they do.
Centrepoint supported 498 homeless young people aged 16-25 in Yorkshire last year and 424 of them were from the Bradford area. With many of our staff being based in Bradford, and the city being so important to our heritage, we are determined to make a difference to help young men and women overcome the barrier of homelessness so that they can achieve their full potential.
We are aiming to raise over £15,000 in the year ahead, which will enable us to sponsor all Centrepoint’s rooms for homeless people in Yorkshire for a year. Everyone at Gordons is totally motivated by the idea of helping to give homeless young people a future.
We are also starting to explore work experience opportunities and how we can help these young adults prepare for interviews, office environments and the job market.
Supporting a charity is not only the right thing to do, it is also a hugely enjoyable part of our working lives. It generally means that, at least once a month, there is an activity going on in or out of the office which brings people together from different teams to raise money or carry out a project.
So far this year, I and my colleague, Frances Mitchell, have been sponsored to walk the catwalk at the Leeds Fashion Ball and more than 20 Gordons people walked 27 miles in a day with the aim of raising over £2,000. This was a fantastic day out and it was great for colleagues to spend time together who might not work with each other every day.
Although we have a charity committee to kick start events, we always look for volunteers at different levels throughout the firm to take responsibility for organising them. This helps share the responsibility and ensures everyone feels involved. In the year ahead, we will have internal five-a-side football tournaments with a healthy level of in-house betting to raise money.
Raising money, raising awareness
Food always plays a key part in our fundraising activities so there will be cake days and international bake days. The highlight of the year will take place in September with our Gordons’ Got Talent event. We’ve already got 10 acts signed up, made up entirely of people at the firm, for what promises to be a fun, social evening and a great fundraiser.
We have raised over £120,000 for charities we have supported in the last six years. However, we know we can help make a difference to them, not just through fundraising and volunteering, but also by raising awareness.
We encourage everyone at the firm to promote our fundraising on social media. This can really help raise the profile of a charity and last year it helped KidsOut secure another corporate sponsor. This can be as valuable to a charity as the entire amount we raise.
We are delighted to support Centrepoint, Bradford this year. We know that some of our most enjoyable days in the 12 months ahead will be when we are teaming our people together to do all we can to help Centrepoint. And one thing is for sure, our Gordons’ Got Talent event will certainly be highly memorable!