When companies support charities that help their local communities, they are doing more than just giving. They are assisting staff, their families and friends, as well as building their brand and making powerful connections.
It's amazing what you can do when you join forces with others. I'm still reeling from being part of an evening that involved just over 200 people having fun while raising a phenomenal amount of money to help people with cancer.
The evening in question was Dimbleby Cancer Care's World's Greatest Quiz, made possible thanks to a long list of people and companies who put their hands in their pockets and/or gave up their time to make a difference. If I'd fund-raised alone, I would have been lucky to pick up a few hundred quid. Together, we raised £52,000 in one night.
I was involved on several levels. Financially – I arranged for Temenos to buy tables at the event. Professionally – I invited contacts from the world of communications who I thought would be sympathetic to the charity, but would also get the collaborative, communicative spirit in which the invitations were issued. Intellectually – I believe open collaboration can achieve so much more than working alone and that companies benefit hugely from supporting the community – and I love a quiz night! Emotionally – I'm a beneficiary of Dimbleby Cancer Care (DCC) after being treated for cervical cancer in 2015.
Clearly, the evening was a huge success for DCC, but also for Temenos. Our guests are all involved in communications in some way or other and got to meet and share ideas in a non-commercial setting. They swapped views on social media, web design, the power of the word vs pictures, advertising vs PR vs content – and discussed the latest Strictly Come Dancing line-up (Claudia Winkleman was the host and quizmaster). And importantly, they Tweeted that they were there.
The aim of inviting comms people to evenings such as this is to start building long-lasting relationships based on mutual interest in community action – and the quiz night was the first of many for us.
There's an important role for companies to play in raising awareness about a subject that can affect both staff and their families. But in this instance, the charitable act also undoubtedly benefits the corporate world – because DCC helps cancer patients, where possible, to get back to work. By supporting it Temenos and the other companies that bought tables or sponsored the evening demonstrated their backing for the local community and their understanding of the issues people face. It's personal, relevant and very powerful.
Going forward, Temenos – which also runs a full, global charitable-giving programme – will be using these events to connect comms professionals. They are the people with a voice, with access to the channels to share such a message, and have a huge, receptive audience. They have a chance to change comms from its role as a purely corporate function to include individuals, communities – real life. It's about extending the reach.
My own experience of DCC was profound. The charity, through its services and its active use of social media, showed me how to put my life back together and helped me find a way to live and return to work. My experience is now benefitting not only others (through awareness-raising), but also Temenos – in business speak it's known as the brand force multiplier.
DCC is beautifully aligned with the values of Temenos – offering collaboration, connection and support on a human and personal level. We often talk about ecosystems as necessary to shore up the survival of industries (in our case banking), but for an ecosystem to be genuinely supportive it must extend beyond the workplace to the individuals involved.
Everyone knows someone who has been touched by cancer – from the chief executive to the graduate trainee – so backing a charity such as DCC makes total business sense. It means we are supporting our staff directly and those of our customers, partners – yes, even our competitors. That's the true benefit of the connected world.
It's vital that we drive connections and collaborate like this. It's my personal vision and the help of Temenos gives it momentum, allowing me to reach further. Together we can achieve so much more than on our own.