On 17 June, the first group of Deloitte staff set off on the challenge of a lifetime. Deloitte’s Charity Challenge 2015 sees 246 Deloitte staff, including 24 partners, undertake four challenges across four continents in an effort to raise £1 million for our charity partners Alzheimer’s Society, Mind and Prostate Cancer UK. They will be climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, Cotopaxi and Mulhacén in Spain as well as a triathlon style jungle trek, mountain bike and white water rafting activity in Borneo. This is largest fundraiser we have ever attempted!
I have been involved with this project from its inception over 2 years ago, alongside our partner sponsor and the Head of Corporate Responsibility, so I have mixed emotions now that it is all finally underway. As the Charitable Giving lead at Deloitte, I work directly with our charity partners and have developed a strong relationship with them all. I have a personal connection with two of the charities which means that my passion to raise awareness and funds is more than just about it being my job.
I am incredibly proud of the money we have raised so far (£670,000 and counting), but more importantly the commitment and dedication I have seen from our people. Not only from those taking part and their focus on training and personal fundraising, but from the volunteers who have supported our wider fundraising initiatives in support of the challenge, whilst juggling demanding day jobs,. Two events in particular stand out for me.
As a huge Strictly Come Dancing fan, our ‘Deloitte Dances’ event, which saw 7 of our Partners learn Latin and ballroom routines a la ‘Strictly’ will always be a memory I cherish. The dancers bravely performed in front of family, friends, colleagues and clients and an esteemed judging panel, which included World Champion ballroom dancer John Wood and Mind Ambassador, Strictly Come Dancing 2014 finalist and Saturday’s member, Frankie Bridge. The event, which we worked on in conjunction with a number of our key suppliers raised over £26,000, was a huge success and so much fun. I could never have dreamed of such a fantastic event, which would not have been possible without the team who put so much into its success.
The second fundraiser I want to mention is the Deloitte ‘Knitwork’. A crazy idea that evolved from my love of knitting and crocheting which saw over 70 colleagues learning to knit or using their existing skills to make over 170 Deloitte branded bobble hats for the challenge participants. Whilst this initiative hasn’t raised thousands of pounds, what it has done is engage a large number of our people who didn’t know what ‘CR’ was, introduced them to a hobby and has given them a huge sense of pride in producing something that someone will keep or use on their challenge. It’s also been a great conversation starter! I’m looking forward to seeing pictures of the teams on a mountain with their bright green pom poms glaring in the sun.
For me, the challenge and everything we have achieved within the charity partnership over the last two year’s epitomises the ethos of responsible business. It’s about developing society, yourself and those around you. Doing something new, enjoying new experiences, having fun, growing your network, making friends or using your skills and expertise to help others. There has been a huge amount of hard work from everyone involved to get us to this point, but the end result is something we can all be extremely proud of. I hope that those who have been a part of the challenge, and our wider charitable giving programme, walk away with a great sense of achievement and pride in themselves as well as the firm; and have a better understanding of our charity partners, their causes and our broader corporate responsibility agenda.
For more information on the challenge, visit our website, or follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #CharityChallenge