Sometime around Easter this year, I got a phone call out of the blue from Pam Thornes at The Laura Crane Trust (a Huddersfield-based charity that supports young people with cancer and funds research into the cancers that affect them) asking for my thoughts on a ‘Calendar Girls-style’ naked calendar. Once, I’d managed get my heart out of my mouth, had picked my jaw up from the floor, and had realised that she wasn’t asking ME to pose for a calendar, but was asking me if I’d be interested in SPONSORING a calendar (featuring the Huddersfield Giants), I immediately said ‘Yes!’, as much out of relief as anything else!
Fast forward to October and the completed calendar was launched at an ‘intimate’ preview evening at Titanic Spa in Huddersfield, and I got to see for the first time, Liquid Accounts’ Mr April (to tie-in with the start of the new tax year, and of course, my birthday!). It was a good fun evening and I was amused to see more than one formidable local businesswoman reduced to the level of a giggling schoolgirl at the site of toned male bodies!
Obviously, I didn’t do this because it was top of my list as a marketing opportunity for Liquid Accounts, I did it purely because it was fun, I wanted to, and it was for a good cause (and because business doesn’t always have to be about profit and spreadsheets and budgets!). I also feel that it’s my duty as a business owner to support my local community as much as I can, and to try and ‘give something back’.
As well as The Laura Crane Trust, Liquid also supports Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation http://www.carolinesrainbowfoundation.org/ – the charity set up by the family of murdered York backpacker, Caroline Stuttle to educate young people about travel safety. I personally knew the families behind both of these charities before I set up Liquid Accounts and so it seems natural for me use my new position to do what I can to promote and support them.
This year, we also supported one of our investors who was doing a charity bike ride from London to Paris in aid of Action Medical Research, and have previously sponsored one of our big clients in a long-distance driving challenge.
Obviously, all of this does help to generate positive PR for your company, and it gives you news and pictures to put on your website or talk about in your blog and helps to create a more human side to your business. It could even offer some team-building and social opportunities if you get your team involved in a charity ball or sponsored bungee jump (or the Laura Crane Trust Santa Run – 1000 Santas running a mile in Barnsley, Huddersfield and Bradford at the beginning of December!)
Huddersfield Giants calendars are available via the Laura Crane Trust website http://www.lauracranetrust.org/ – or I have a few SIGNED copies available if anyone would like to make a donation to the charity (contact me with your offer – firstname.lastname@example.org)