It’s a sign of the times and the changing nature of charitable giving that rather than only giving away money, more can be achieved and greater satisfaction had by also donating our skills, time and knowledge to make a difference to the communities in which our businesses operate.
What has also changed is that where there was once a divide between our personal and professional lives, people now need to feel authentic in their workplace as well. So the values upheld by the companies we work for become even more important.
We have definitely noticed that shift here at Earthworm, and we recognise that one of our common goals is to empower each other to become active players in solving problems within our own communities – which directly links with our values of being public-spirited and connected.
Community is at the heart of the popular TV programme DIY SOS, and when they made an appeal for help from Northamptonshire businesses TW Composting, one of our investee companies, didn’t disappoint. They packed up five tonnes of soil improver and set to work on a garden in need of some TLC.
In the office we have found that we all care passionately about different causes, many of which are on our doorstep or affecting our daily lives. Some of us want to protect British wildlife, some of us are keen to support our culture and heritage, while many of us care about charities that promote our health and wellbeing.
And of course, because of the nature of our business, the environment is high on all our lists. We ask everyone on the team for ideas and nominations for where our charity donations should go, and the environment is a theme that consistently runs through – from Toilet Twinning to Jamie’s Farm to Trees for Cities.
Last year we chose to support SolarAid as our charity partner. SolarAid stood out to us for their sustainable method of bringing solar light to those living in the most rural parts of Africa, but they also have community at the heart of their ethos. Instead of going into a community, providing aid and then leaving, SolarAid creates a marketplace around the solar lights. The charity supports and empowers those communities giving them the necessary tools to prosper.
This year we are considering spreading our charity budget across several local charities to give back to the communities we live and work in. And judging by our team’s growing nominations list, we’re spoilt for choice.
Earthworm is a relatively young company, and we have only just begun our journey and culture of giving, but by laying the foundations we hope to not only encourage our employees to drive our charitable giving, but inspire them to believe that no matter how small their contribution they can ‘be the change they want to see in the world’.
This year Laurence, an Investment Manager here at Earthworm, is running three consecutive marathons, starting with London in April. He is raising money for various causes close to his heart and we are supporting him. He’s even said he is willing to dress up (now that’s commitment!) – perhaps it’s time for an Earthworm mascot – Ernie the Earthworm? If you would like to support Laurence in his Marathon Challenge you can visit his Just Giving page, thank you.