We channel our colleagues’ and customers’ incredible fundraising efforts into a Group-wide charity partnership. Our colleagues are crucial to the success of our partnership, so it makes sense that they have the final say on which charity we support – usually selecting charities that demonstrate how our fundraising support can make a tangible impact at a local level.
We raise funds for charities in several different ways:
- National fundraising campaigns
- Colleagues’ fundraising activities
- Cause-related marketing
- Sale of charity branded promotional items
- ‘Tick to give’ and ‘Round it up’ – two point of sale schemes in Argos that allow customers to make a 20p donation or round up their bill for our charity partner.
We also support our charity partners with in-kind support, through volunteering, product donations, purchase discounts and a range of awareness raising and educational activities for colleagues and customers.
Our current two year partnership with Teenage Cancer Trust has been extended to February 2013, by which time we aim to raise £3.5m.
What we’ve done
By April 2012 we raised over £3m for Teenage Cancer Trust since the start of our partnership in July 2010. Colleagues and customers have supported a range of national events – the ‘Mad Hatter's Tea Party’, ‘Rock Your Shades’ and a ‘Christmas Wishes’ event in Homebase - making donations in-store and purchasing themed merchandise and Teenage Cancer Trust pin badges.
Argos customers also had the opportunity to participate in two online fundraising activities – the ‘Big Woohoo and Big Warehouse Dash’ – generating a further £7,500 for Teenage Cancer Trust.
All money raised supports the construction and maintenance of 22 Teenage Cancer Trust units within NHS hospitals across towns and cities in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Seven new units have opened in the last two years – enabling over 4,000 in-patient stays and over 5,000 outpatient visits:
- Freeman Hospital, Newcastle opened in January 2012
- Castle Hill Hospital, Hull opened in December 2011
- Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge opened in August 2011
- Royal Hallamshire, Sheffield opened in May 2011
- Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham opened in May 2011
- Royal Marsden Hospital, Surrey opened in March 2011
- Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham opened in August 2010
Local community groups also benefit from our national charity partnership, because we reward our top fundraising stores and sites with gift cards which they can use to donate to local good causes. The ‘Star Where You Are’ scheme has benefited more than 90 local charities with donations of over £40,000.
As part of our commitment to provide a legacy to Teenage Cancer Trust we have helped to increase their volunteer database from 689 in July 2010 to 3,729 in February 2012. This was achieved mainly through the recruitment of volunteers to support Argos’s twice-yearly catalogue launch.
Unprompted awareness of the charity amongst the general public has also increased during the course of the partnership.
We actively encourage our colleagues to develop new skills and broaden their experience and knowledge by volunteering to work for our charity partner. As a result, Teenage Cancer Trust benefits from the expertise of our colleagues including marketing, customer service training and website development. And colleagues from our human resources teams are helping young cancer patients’ progress from education to employment through work experience opportunities, CV writing workshops and mock interviews.
Some colleagues have also turned out to collect donations at Teenage Cancer Trust events such as the Royal Albert Hall gigs held every March, whilst others are planning to provide garden make-overs for patients and their families.
We actively support a number of charities and community groups through a combination of cash, gifts in kind and volunteering. This local investment benefits the recipients, helps to engage our colleagues and enhances our corporate reputation.
What we’ve done
We donated over £3.7 million to charities in 2011/12 – supporting our national charity partnership and a number of other charities and community groups.
Home Retail Group’s payroll giving scheme has been recognised with a Platinum Award by HM Government through the Institute of Fundraising and the Payroll Giving Centre. Over 10% of our colleagues participate in the scheme which is actively promoted by our professional fundraising partner ‘Hands on Helping’. This year over £405,000 has been donated via this scheme to more than 500 charities chosen by our colleagues. We match the first month’s donation for new donors and also pay all administration costs for the scheme, so every penny goes directly to the benefiting charities.
Colleagues have raised £300,000 for over 50 charities of their choice which has been matched with awards totalling £38,000 through our Company ‘Community Cashback’ scheme – boosting our colleagues’ fundraising efforts for local and national charities or community groups.
Community Prize Fund Draw
Using a simple nomination and application process on our website we donate gift cards worth £250, £150 or £100 (redeemable in Argos and Homebase stores) to three local charities and community groups every month. Find out how, here.
This year we’ve donated stock with an estimated retail value of over £144,000 through ‘InKind Direct’ – benefiting close to 700 charities. The vast majority of beneficiaries are small, local groups who work at a grass roots level.
Our volunteering policy gives every colleague the opportunity to take two paid volunteering days off a year. We also encourage colleagues to work together in groups for local good causes and subsidise the materials they need in order to make a difference. Read some examples of our volunteering activities and how we're helping a local school.
In Homebase stores across the country, colleagues are volunteering in local primary schools, helping young people to lead more sustainable lives as part of their Eco-Schools programme.
And in Milton Keynes, colleagues are supporting a local secondary school, The Radcliffe, as part of a national Business in the Community programme – ‘Business Class’. The three year programme aims to develop strategic long-term partnerships between business and schools, with the schools determining the priorities for the partnership.
The support for schools also extends to other primary and secondary schools in Milton Keynes with colleagues supporting ‘Workout’ sessions – talking about their careers to students in a fun and engaging way, and helping to bridge the gap between school and the world of work.
Colleagues at our Call Centre at Widnes have also been supportin local schools through work experience, school visits and organising activities aimed at developing skills such as confidence and teamwork.
Since the policy was launched colleagues have donated the equivalent of over £200,000 of volunteering hours by supporting Company programmes, charities of their choice, or team activities. Colleagues’ commitment to supporting their local communities continues to gain momentum and the feedback from both colleagues and beneficiary organisations has been hugely positive.
Community activity in Asia
Colleagues at our offices in Asia have been supporting their local communities with donations of product samples and computers to local schools. Our offices also work closely with local agencies to support youth employment initiatives in the area. And colleagues will have their say on how they would like to continue to support their communities, and what role volunteering could play in this support, in a survey currently being run in our Hong Kong office.
Broader community support has been provided with donations to Unicef, The Red Cross and to the WWF through our support of the ‘No Shark Fin’ policy.
Our Hong Kong office has also been awarded ‘Caring Company’ status in 2011/12.