Why charity matters all together better

There is no doubt that 2020 has, for most, been the most challenging year we have experienced for decades. The way we work has changed, probably in parts forever, and the massive impacts of the change forced upon us continue to reverberate, making many of us more insular as we concentrate on keeping our families, friends and colleagues as safe as possible. These circumstances have also had a profound effect on our tendency to give, though, and at a time when charities have never needed us more, the route to raising much needed funds is also harder.

Our Executive Chair, Tim Ryan, has written much on philanthropy in business and the important role and effect it has on us as individuals and businesses. In his most recent article on the subject, he highlighted the incredible community spirit that we experienced during the first lockdown of 2020, when many of our members’ teams were involved in volunteering, donating and raising money to support our country’s key workers and charities.

From rewarding ourselves with happy hormones, through to reducing stress levels, the act of giving offers many personal benefits – and it offers business benefits, too.

Community value

As a business, the actions we take are analysed and reviewed by our customers during their buying process. Being seen as an empathetic and caring organisation can be the differentiator needed to bring in a sale. In this way, while it’s important not to give just for the PR, it’s also important to make sure your community knows you have given. 

Employee engagement

Millennials are pretty much the largest demographic in work around the world, making up around 50% of the workforce. Millennials are career driven – they want more than just a job. So, they pay attention to what their employers stand for. Millennials are also philanthropic, with 84% giving to charity. 

Attracting talent

Just as communities and our customers appreciate a philanthropic approach, so the people you may wish to attract to work within your business, and your existing workforce, will feel more affinity for your company if it is seen as a giving business. 

Tax benefits

While giving to charity should not be motivated by tax reductions, when a limited company gives to charity it will be able to claim tax relief by deducting the value of the donations from the total business profits before tax is paid. For sole traders and partnerships, the rules are different and tax relief here is claimed by the individual, rather than the business. 

Personal feel good

As we learned from ZavFit at our UNA Conference on 12th November 2020, understanding what makes us feel good will have a profound impact on our day to day productivity. As individuals, when making charitable donations our bodies create a surge of dopamine and endorphins, making us feel happy.  The act of giving can lead to health benefits, too. In his book ‘Why Good Things Happen to Good People’, Stephen Prost says donating has been shown to increase health benefits in people with chronic illnesses. Donating may also improve physical health and bring longer life, as it can help reduce stress, too. 

At UNA, we focus on working together to bring better benefits for our broker community, as well as our customers all around the UK. So, while during our virtual conference we were unable to run our usual charity raffle, we did set up JustGiving pages to raise money for two charities that are very close to our hearts, and who are in need right now. 

Supporting Samaritans

This pandemic is the biggest challenge Samaritans has ever faced. Before Coronavirus hit, 20,000 Samaritans volunteers were answering a call for help every six seconds. This could be someone you know, family or friends in urgent need but unable to talk to anyone in the middle of the night. 

Now, the need for someone at the end of the line - 24/7, 365 - is more important than ever. Samaritans' helpline is feeling the pressure. They're likely to experience more people struggling to cope or in crisis and they may have less volunteers to help answer calls for help.  

So, we chose to support Samaritans Emergency Appeal to help them reach those who are struggling to cope. It will help Samaritans recruit more volunteers and work faster on different ways to be there. Apt, perhaps, that our conference was on World Kindness Day. Together. we can help change the life of someone who desperately needs them. 

Macmillan Cancer Support

We lost our friend and colleague, Andy Jenkins, in August 2020 and we have chosen to support Macmillan Cancer Support in his memory. This amazing organisation helps people with cancer, and their families, all around the UK, to live life as fully as they can, providing physical, financial and emotional support. 

Visit our JustGiving page to learn more about our Annual Conference 2020 fundraising. All together better.