People and businesses do amazing things - but why?

  • The run-up to Sport Relief 2012 has begun and, as I write this in the warmth of The Marketing Eye office on a chilly September day, comedian David Walliams is battling to swim the full length of the River Thames.

    David Walliams Thames Swim

    People do amazing things for charity - probably somewhere in the UK at this very moment, some brave soul is throwing themselves out of an aircraft or having all their hair shaved off in the name of charity. Of course, helping charities can take other forms as well - such as people giving up their precious time to do anything from helping out at a night shelter to picking up litter in a local park.

    But, why do people do it? David Walliams is certainly giving something back. He is well-known and he knows that if he swims the Thames, it will gain more column inches and media coverage for the cause than if you or I did it. It will also do his profile no end of good. He would no doubt argue that he isn't doing it for that - but I imagine his management team is busy seeing how his latest endeavour can be used to promote his upcoming work projects.

    But, why do less well known individuals, like you or I, do things for charity? It's usually because we've been affected by something we've seen or experienced. There's every chance David Walliams may encourage some us to pick up the baton for Sports Relief. On other hand, a friend or relative may have had a particular illness and you want to support a charity in that area. This is something I have personal experience of...

    My daughter Naomi died of cancer when she was four years old, nearly eight years ago. Soon after her death, I joined the local fundraising committee for Cancer Research UK. My reasons for doing this are varied. On a big scale, if I can help to raise some money which might go some way in finding some sort of breakthrough - which might just mean that less people have to suffer like Naomi in the future - then this would be fantastic! On a more personal level, the time I spend volunteering for CRUK is my ‘Naomi time' and it ensures that, as a her mother, I am doing something which is focused on her.

    Naomi lives on in what I do. I don't do it to make myself feel good - but I do feel a sense of achievement when an event I've been involved in comes together or a flag day is a success.

    Increasingly, companies are adopting a CSR (corporate and social responsibility) programme and their reasons for doing it are probably not dissimilar to when individuals support a charity.

    When ‘Miss World' used to grace our screens back in the 1970s, people would joke that the girls would always boast about how they were going to devote their time to charitable work if they won the competition, but it made people feel warm towards them.

    In the same way, it also reflects well on companies if they have a good CSR policy and are seen to be ‘giving something back'. It's something that investors and stakeholders may look for nowadays, as well as customers and their neighbours in the local community. Potential employees may also be drawn to a company which is seen in the local paper supporting a good cause.

    For companies which think more strategically about it, then CSR is a way of managing risk; building a general culture of ‘doing the right thing' may offset any potential risks. Other companies have built a whole brand around their own distinctive ethical values - such as The Body Shop and The Co-operative Group.

    Here at The Marketing Eye, community activity is firmly baked into our company ethos and we currently commit 10% of our chargeable time to it. Activities we are involved with range from supporting Hospice in the Weald with its corporate dinner to launching Young Business Minds, a business competition for year 12 students.

    Whether you are a company or an individual, you need passion, commitment and a sense of purpose to undertake any charity or community endeavour. Watching the Tweets coming from David Walliams' camp at the moment, I'd say that he has all three of these in spades.

Related articles

  • Read More

    How to get on the right side of a journalist

    I spent 20 years as a journalist, working for a variety of publications, from financial journals to a magazine for the duty free trade.  During that time, I was sent thousands of press releases and...

  • Read More

    Maximise your next media interview - 5 tips for how to prepare

    This is a guest post by Jennifer Wasilisin Burns of Marketri, our associates in the USA.  The article first appeared on the Marketri blog....

  • Read More

    Listen, create, distribute and measure - the essential components of a modern PR plan

    Modern day public relations is about more than issuing press releases - now commonly called 'content marketing', it requires research and monitoring of the conversations that are taking place in the...

  • Read More

    Rising Sun - Why the UK's newest Sunday paper is important for us all

    So, it appears that we are about to welcome a new national newspaper – The Sun on Sunday, which launches this weekend. Rupert Murdoch has travelled to the UK...

  • Read More

    Why every business needs a journalist

    Content is king – but is that the end of the story? Today, with the rise and rise of social media, coupled with a focus on improving a website’s SEO, every business should...

  • Read More

    The damage done to journalism by phone hacking

    Over the past few days, many journalists have probably been busy thinking up alternative ways of describing what they do for a living.  With phone-hacking scandals falling out of the News...

  • Read More

    Read all about it - the definition of good PR

    Angela Ward, Head of PR Services at The Marketing Eye, describes how PR adds value to businesses.I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what PR actually is.Having been a journalist for 20 years,...

  • Read More

    Spinning out your expenses - how to handle a PR crisis

    A crisis communications plan doesn't have to be a weighty tome, it can be a simple set of guidelines that first considers the types of crises that could occur and then walks through the main steps...

Take the first step

To find out more about how we can help you grow faster, please get in touch. We'd like to hear from you.  Or try our instant marketing healthcheck, it's free!

Quick Contact

Quick contact


Contact us

T 01825 765617


Our offices

Full details of our offices in London and Uckfield more

Request a call

'; ';