Giving something back
Our office manager, Rachel, reflects on the who, how, and why of WRENmedia’s charitable giving.
Why does WM feel that it’s important to donate to charity each month?
The sector we work in means that our attention is often focused on development – especially for marginalised groups in developing countries – which I think places us in a good position to see where help is needed.
The company’s charitable giving was actually in place before I arrived, and I think it’s really down to Susanna – WRENmedia’s director – choosing to give something back when the company is in a position to do so. There are a lot of people worse off than we are and who need help – so if we can offer some support, I think that’s a good thing. We tend to have a set amount set aside for charity each month, and we decide as a team which charities to support.
What charities has WM supported in the past?
We have supported a really wide range of charities, including some local ones. At Christmas, for instance, we gave to the Ipswich Night Shelter – as homelessness is a massive and growing problem at the moment – and we have supported the local hospice in Ipswich. We also supported Choose Love, based in London, which uses donations to provide refugees with useful and good-quality everyday items, like nappies, sleeping bags or school supplies. Last year, Sophie and Steph both completed half marathons to raise money for Cancer Research and MIND, and James completed the Three Peaks Challenge in support of the Teenage Cancer Trust – so we sponsored them as three of our monthly charities.
When there is a disaster abroad, like a tsunami or an earthquake, we look into charities that support the countries affected. We also have a longstanding relationship with Mothers’ Mercy Home in Kenya, which provides a home and education to poor and destitute children – and which Sophie and Susanna visited most recently in September 2016. So we support charities both here in the UK and abroad, and we try not to limit ourselves to the sector we work in.
How do we come to a decision on which charities to donate to?
Whenever possible, we research and choose a charity as a team. Often, a team member will hear something in the news about a recent disaster or crisis and suggest that we support any relief efforts – we’ll then start looking for a charity. There isn’t a set formula for each month; just whoever might need our help. We do try to support smaller charities, where our money will make more of a difference – like the Suffolk-based St Elizabeth Hospice, which survives only through donations.
In the past year, we began reflecting on the products we use in the office every day – and how these might have a wider impact that goes beyond the WRENmedia office. After some research, we bought water bottles for each member of the team from SHO, which donates 10% of its earnings to Mary’s Meals, and we also began sourcing toilet paper from Who Gives a Crap, which uses 50% of its profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in developing countries.
Susanna will normally make the final decision, but if one of the team hears about something or knows someone who is raising money for a particular charity, they can run this by the team and we would come to a group decision. So, for instance, I suggested the help for refugees charity, Choose Love, because I’d read about that and thought they had a great idea – sending items instead of money. Every member of the team can find a charity that means something to them.
Looking to the future, will WRENmedia continue its charitable giving?
Definitely, so long as the company can afford to. You can’t dock wages in order to support charities, of course, but whilst we have the means to offer support to charity, we will carry on. We do try to donate every single month, and at Christmas we try to give a bit more. I think one of the really positive things about working at WRENmedia is that the company looks out for people who are less fortunate.