Fostering a culture of giving back
We’ve always known that our purpose is much bigger than ClearBank – the value we add can and should extend beyond products and services to where we use successful business as a vehicle for social good.
But the question remains of how best to help others and support meaningful change. The UK’s giving landscape has been dramatically changed as individuals, organisations, and broader society respond to changing economic conditions that have come off the back of the Covid pandemic.
As we live through a cost-of-living crisis, the need for giving back and community-based work has never been more important. There are more people in need. Meanwhile, charities themselves are struggling with rising demand, rising costs and falling donation income.
According to the Charities Aid Foundation’s most recent research, four-fifths (81%) of charities say that demand for their services has increased compared to a year ago, while fewer than two-fifths (38%) of charities have high levels of confidence that they can afford to meet the current demand for their services and only half (55%) of charities are confident they can meet their current overheads, including ,energy, rent and supplies.
At ClearBank, we believe in the benefit of creating something better together – in fact it is at the heart of one of our core values “Achieving Better Together”. That can take the form of fundraising, volunteering and supporting communities in local initiatives, which are all crucial elements of social and practical action for the benefit of others.
It’s also beneficial for individuals as it allows them to expand their skills. For example, a study by Oxfam found that employers are more likely to hire an applicant with volunteering experience because those job seekers are seen to be good team players and more self-motivated than other applicants.
We offer a variety of initiatives for our employees to give back and make a difference.
This begins with our ‘Bigger than ClearBank’ initiative that encourages and supports employees to contribute their time and skills to worthy causes, offering two community giving days to engage with and tackle important societal challenges. It is up to our employees how best they want to use these days; we don’t define them because meaningful change is unique to every individual and community. We empower our employees to make this difference.
In the last year this also included a winter coat donation drive and fundraise for St Mungo’s, a leading UK homelessness charity.
So, what does giving back at ClearBank mean, and what has the experience been like? We asked some of our employees to share their stories.
“I am involved in helping a Boys Brigade Company in the Glasow area, where we have 26 boys that currently attend and 9 staff. The boys attend on a Friday night for an hour and take part in games, crafts, cooking, theme nights, as well as Halloween, Christmas parties, fundraising, away days and attend special Boys Brigade events,” Alan Kerr, Oversight and Testing Manager
“I do a lot of work for a local Grassroots football team that my children play for, and I used one of my ‘Bigger than ClearBank’ days to register our players on The FA WholeGame system and chase up parents who hadn’t sent in their children's details. When I first did the football registrations a few years ago, I had to spend a lot of my holiday time doing it when I should have been spending that time with my family. I can't thank ClearBank enough for giving me this time to help my local community,” Doug Thomson, Head of Technology Business Operations.
“I support a charity which is very close to my heart – Childhood Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG). Our daughter was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer at the age of six and CCLG supported us throughout. We have done several fundraising activities in the 11 years since Lucy was diagnosed to raise much-needed funds for research into Rhabdomyosarcoma and to give just a little back. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, where the charity sells gold ribbon merchandise (pin badges etc.) so people can wear and spread awareness. Anything that can be done to try and give other parents hope like us is so rewarding. Lucy is now 17 and still has regular check-ups but is living life to the full.” Caroline Thomas, Head of Scheme Management.
“I recently had the opportunity to work on a charity project for CoCo and KiKi Garments that a friend and I started. We met the makers of the ethical and sustainable dungarees, issued an entrepreneur's grant and donated food and school supplies to children in orphanages and villages in the South of India. Documentary coming soon. If you’d like to support our cause, you’ll find a link to do so here: https://cocoandkiki.co.uk/shop/ Thank you so much ClearBank who have given me the opportunity to use my voluntary days to complete this charity project,” Kishana Thomas-Quallo, Reconciliations Analyst
We’re passionate about giving back to our communities and incredibly proud of the dedication and energy our employees have put into supporting many organisations.
But we’re mindful that we can do more. More in terms of ensuring volunteering is as straightforward as possible, enabling every employee to find those opportunities and further boost participation.
We appreciate that employees have multiple causes close to their hearts. It could be supporting a well-known charity or volunteering at their local animal shelter. It’s also important to realise that it’s no longer practical to fundraise solely through office-only activities. That means providing a variety of activities so that all our employees, irrespective of where they are based, can participate.
That’s why we’re looking at ways to support employees further to find these opportunities without being overly prescriptive about where and how they can support these organisations. We’re also examining a long-term partnership with a charity or charities in the UK – nominated by our employees – to evolve our ‘Bigger than ClearBank’ initiative to increase our fundraising activities and volunteering opportunities.
Nadine Adams is Head of Human Resources at ClearBank where she leads the team dedicated to supporting our employees and ensuring our culture is always at the forefront in everything we do.