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Support charity – it’s good business!

In any fast-paced industry, there is always time to give back to the local community, says Helen Ellis and Jenny Turner, Co-Directors of People and Culture at SDL Group.

Helen Ellis and Jenny Turner

SDL supporting 'Tower to Tower' charity image

At the end of May, our Director of PRS Paul Staley, a columnist in The Negotiator, joined a group of similarly determined business leaders to cycle, row and then hike from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the Tower of London, covering a staggering 560km.

The idea for this year was to step up a gear, dare to be different by doing something exceptional.

A world away from his day-to-day work, the gruelling ‘Tower to Tower’ challenge was part of SDL Group’s fundraising drive to support our partner charity, The Donna Louise, in Stoke. Paul has already smashed his target of £50,000, raising £61,000 for our campaign – which raised £120,000 in the first half of the year. Our target for the full year was £150,000, so we are beyond excited to have raised such a phenomenal sum, with the help of our people and partners.


Fundraising has always been an important part of our company life, and even though most of us haven’t undertaken a challenge quite as tough as Paul’s, we feel the benefit of coming together to support a shared cause. Over the years, our people have organised everything from charity cake sales in the office, to sponsored skydives, all of which bring us together, build our teams and pour ideas and energy in to a common cause.

As a group with locations across the UK, the idea of this year’s campaign was to bring together our people, step up a gear, dare to be different by doing something exceptional.

This year, for every pound raised by our people for The Donna Louise, we are matching it, which has helped to galvanise everyone – as shown by the amazing total to date. It is a fantastic feel-good factor, and so touching to hear stories from the families that The Donna Louise helps, seeing the difference our efforts made.

If people want to support other charities, we help them however we can. Something as simple as a £100 donation to anyone taking part in a charity run, walk or bike ride is an immense boost for them, and shows that the company values their efforts. Because charity isn’t all about fundraising, we also give our people two days away from the office each year to volunteer for any cause they see fit.

Our view is that whether a firm is large or small, it’s essential that fundraising activities are embedded within its culture, rather than a bolt on to our main work, a tick-box exercise. Our community activities should be a reflection of what we stand for more generally, reassuring customers that they are dealing with a business that upholds its responsibilities. We see it as one of our responsibilities to help the many small and medium-sized businesses we work with to make charitable work an easy thing to add to their activities with us – and have been delighted by their enthusiasm.


The property sector might be target-driven, but those who work within it also understand the importance of working in partnership. Earlier this year, at our annual conference, delegates were introduced to The Donna Louise by our CEO Paul Gratton. This message was threaded throughout the day to encourage pledges, fundraising and raise awareness of the charity and our black-tie dinner was dedicated to The Donna Louise. This galvanised stakeholders to donate or organise activities. Our partners have strong links to their communities and really make a difference and by sharing our passion for The Donna Louise, we have drawn them closer to us as advocates for the cause.

To generate further funds, SDL Surveying has worked with their partners to round up invoices for the next year, donating the pennies to The Donna Louise. CENTURY 21 franchisees are donating 1p for every £100 of income earned, and SDL Property Management is making a donation for every new customer who joins us.

We believe that our charitable efforts provide a framework that drives everything we do, it’s great to see that more companies are embracing it. When a firm supports a cause that is close to our customers’ hearts, we think it is a sign that it takes its responsibilities seriously. For our employees and partners, it also offers a talking point, a shared experience. If, like most in our industry, you also love nothing more than smashing targets, there is no limit to how much you can raise for charity.

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