Charity and Fundraising
Our Charity Efforts
For those of you who don’t know, First Response Finance’s chosen charity is SANE, a UK-based mental health charity that helps support those who need somebody to talk to. They are also trying to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illnesses.
The First Response fundraising team regularly create events or challenges for our offices in order to raise money. Events have varied from bake sales, clothes swaps, raffles or “dress to impress”. Each event will aim to raise hundreds of pounds for SANE, all of which are matched by the company to double the funds.
It’s not only SANE that we help. We know that people around the business want to raise money for a charity that means something to them, whether it’s for cancer, homelessness, advice providers or any other number of causes. That’s why, if somebody makes the effort to raise money for a charity of their choosing the company will double it and donate the total amount raised to SANE, so that they’re not losing out. We call it our Match Scheme.
Before SANE became our charity in August 2018, we proudly supported Magic Breakfast, a UK charity who helped provide breakfasts to school children. These free meals were really a lifeline for some kids. Find out why we stopped working with them here or read on to learn about some of the fundraising events we ran for them.
There are a number of events which stand out as the ones that people still talk about. One of the most recent and most impressive of these was the “dress to impress” for the Euros. All teams were given a country and asked to display the traditions of that country for all to see. Teams then dressed their desks (and in some cases themselves) ready for the playoffs, where they would be pitted against another team.
Teams used their imagination and even went the extra mile to provide a full experience. We had sweet treats, tapas, beer tasting and tours around some of the landmarks of the Euros’ countries. You can see a section of the photos below.
Another much talked about campaign was the one year’s charity Christmas card. Our fundraising team volunteered at one of the Magic Breakfast schools to see what fabulous work was being done with the money that was raised. During one of these morning sessions children were asked to design a Christmas card for us. This card would be sold internally as well as distributed to customers.
Our team arrived at the school with carrier bags filled to the brim with card, cotton wool, glitter glue and felt tips. The team set up a separate table in order to contain the creative genius that was to occur. The rule for the table was that you had to eat your breakfast first before you could come over and join in with the artwork.
Once at the Christmas card table the kids were asked to design a card for our customers which could be anything they wanted, so long as it looked Christmassy. The difficulty with this task was ensuring that they didn’t get too excited for Christmas; after all they were designing them in autumn!
After each creative session our fundraising team spent around 30 minutes making sure we left the place as clean as when we got there. Over the three weeks that we spent at the school we quickly learned that tonnes of newspaper and Sellotape would be our saviour!
We had over 40 cards to choose from but after an internal vote we were able to narrow down the choices and to one final winner!
"The kids got really creative and had loads of fun. I loved seeing the kids enjoying themselves, but felt for the parents who had glittered clothes for a fortnight!” - Donna, Fundraiser at First Response
Recently we one of our underwriters, Luke, offered up his own head of hair for a sponsored head shave. Our offices raised over £570 and the highest bidder even got a chance to do the shaving!
Each summer our Nottingham office hires award-winning BBQ company to visit the Leigh and Nottingham sites and host an in house BBQ. The BBQ was free but staff were asked to 'pay what it's worth'. The whole day raised over £450 which is a fantastic effort from the team!
An annual event which raised over £550. All prizes were donated by staff members and ranged from homemade pictures, designer handbags and cash prizes!
We love bake sales and for good reason. It provides some competition, we get to eat something sweet and we also help a charity in the process. A bake sale is an easy way for staff to raise money for charities that are close to them.
As we mentioned briefly, it’s not just SANE that we donate to. Our staff choose their own charities and raise money however they see fit either inside or outside of work. We will then match this for their charity. Any money that is sent to the other charity we’ll also make sure Magic Breakfast see it too.
That means if somebody raises £100 we will donate £100 to their charity to match. SANE will also receive £200. It’s a win-win.
Below are a number of the charities our staff have raised money for over the years and the money that’s been sent to the charity (including matching).
- Cancer Research UK - £5,974
- Macmillan - £5,708
- Rainbow Trust - £1,932
- Walk the Walk Worldwide - £1,918
- Other charities - £18,594
What SANE do
SANE have been running since 1986 and their aim is to improve the lives of those with mental illness. They aim to do this in a few ways, by raising awareness and combating stigma, providing support and funding research. All of these combined should provide some much needed help and assistance to those who have an illness.
They run their own Black Dog campaign which sees statues of black dogs being placed across places in the UK. The campaign is a place on Churchill's description of depression as a "black dog". Since joining up with SANE all three of our offices have received a dog to make First Response's black dog a talking point.