#teachabletoo: Three things we learnt from our first corporate fundraising partnership

December 16th, 2020

At Redthread, collaboration is a key part of our work. It is one of our five values and sits at the heart of everything we do. Our youth work teams collaborate with clinical colleagues in A&E to support young people who arrive at hospital in pain and fear following a violent injury; we collaborate with partners across the voluntary and statutory sectors to engage young people with services such as mental health support, housing or education and we collaborate with one another to share skills and expertise across our organisation. 

But what does this mean for fundraising? Recently, we have been thinking about how we can collaborate with the private sector and harness the power of business to bring us closer to our vision: a society in which all young people are healthy, safe and happy. 

Last year, Redthread embarked on its first corporate fundraiser with Cushman & Wakefield, a London based commercial real estate firm. We learned so much from this process, and wanted to share the three key things we think are essential to make a corporate partnership work for both organisations.


1, Great minds think alike 

When done right, a partnership with a charity can provide huge benefits to a business. It could be a corporate’s golden ticket to boosting staff engagement, brand recognition or sales, all whilst cementing their reputation as an active corporate citizen. But the most successful partnerships are between those organisations with shared values and interests. What is your business’ ‘why’? What issues do your staff care about most? Are they ambitious for the future of their workforce and want to see the next generation thrive? 

Following an initial meeting with Cushman & Wakefield’s senior team and a presentation to staff, it quickly became clear that their drive to challenge misconceptions about serious youth violence and passion for supporting young people within their community meant that we were a fantastic fit.


2, It’s vital to be creative 

Bake sales and Christmas jumper days are timeless fundraisers that year on year continue to raise big sums of money for charity. But as businesses are often working with multiple charities at once, we  wanted to make sure Redthread cut through the noise and ensured staff continued to talk about our charity in years to come. 

What better way to get staff at a commercial real estate firm ‘on board’ than with a classic game of Monopoly? In June 2019, Cushman & Wakefield and their roster of property clients took part in Cushopoly – Monopoly with a twist – to raise funds for Redthread. It was a day of friendly competition, challenge and fun. 

The day started at their Portman Square office with a breakfast and warm-up with a very special guest – Mr Motivator! His infectious energy was enjoyed by all and he was really passionate about Redthread and the charity’s vision, a society where all young people lead healthy, safe and happy lives. 

Staff and clients were then put into teams of four: two players and two runners. Players were spread out at sites across London, in clients’ properties they had kindly donated for the day. Each of the game sites represented a square on the original London Monopoly board. Whilst players took on a 60 minute game of Monopoly, runners were tasked with running ‘the board’, a 10km run around central London visiting each game site en route to the finish line.

Once the players had completed the game or ran ‘the board’, a finish line party at Old Spitalfields Market was arranged where the winners were announced, and teams enjoyed lunch and speeches. 

Redthread’s dedicated and experienced fundraising team were on hand to support Cushman & Wakefield from start to finish, using our wealth of fundraising knowledge to turn their ideas into a reality. We supported them with idea generation, got stuck in with organising, attending weekly meetings to help plan the event and made sure to shout about Cushopoly on Redthread’s social media. 

“We are delighted to have fundraised for Redthread. We are a real estate advisory firm so for us ‘Cushopoly’ was the obvious route to take – but a warm-up in our office reception with the legend that is Mr Motivator certainly wasn’t! Now I have a team asking what we are going to do next to help Redthread and I am not sure how we are going to beat that!”

David Lusher, International Partner, Cushman & Wakefield.


3, Show your partner how their fundraising will change lives

Yes, our business partners want to know the impact of the partnership on their bottom line, but they will also want to know exactly what difference they can make to the lives of the people we support. Gen Z are facing a myriad of increasingly complex challenges from COVID-19 and an economic recession, to serious youth violence and the pressures of social media. Staff will have young daughters, sons, nieces, nephews and family friends making that challenging transition to adulthood or they will live and work in communities that have been traumatised by serious youth violence. Ultimately, staff want to know what they can do to make society a better place for the young people around them. 

To show staff at Cushman & Wakefield how their fundraising could change lives, we arranged for one of Redthread’s Team Leaders to join us at their offices to give insight into their day to day role working with young victims of violence in the emergency department at Homerton Hospital in Hackney. Cushman & Wakefield’s entire Valuation and Advisory division attended the launch event, asking lots of questions and engaging passionately with the topic of serious youth violence. 

We were thrilled to see staff so inspired and ready to get stuck into fundraising. For us, the results were invaluable. Cushman & Wakefield raised over £15,000 for Redthread. This is enough to pay for 10 weeks of bespoke, intensive, one-to-one support for 10 young people recovering from violence, so that they are able to engage with appropriate support, break away from cycles of harm and make positive change.  

Is your business passionate about young people’s futures? If you would like to find out more about how you can support Redthread’s work, please get in touch with Anna at anna.mcloughlin@redthread.org.uk

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