The annual City Giving Day, now in its 7th year, is an opportunity for City businesses not only to raise valuable funds for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and other charities, but also to celebrate the value those businesses bring to society.
Championing philanthropic and volunteering activities undertaken by City businesses to support charities, society and the environment, City Giving Day is an opportunity for businesses not just to fundraise on the day but also to showcase the amazing social impact work they do all year round.
City Giving Day has raised an estimated £2.5m for good causes, including the Lord Mayor’s Appeal since it was launched in 2015. Currently the Lord Mayor’s Appeal supports five core charities which are the Duke of Edinburgh Award, National Numeracy, OnSide, Place2Be and Samaritans.
BE Offices has been a supporter of City Giving Day since 2018, and our Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Julie Tucker, has twice spoken at City Giving Day engagement breakfasts about BE Offices’ participation in City Giving Day. Here is an extract of her speech:
“It was one of our clients who first introduced us to City Giving Day four years ago, and I’m so glad they did, because our involvement has sparked myriad opportunities for our business, not only to take part in the day itself and help raise funds for charitable causes, but also on a continual basis. City Giving Day is obviously the focal point for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal but there is so much more to it than just taking part on the day.
“Our involvement is perhaps unconventional in its diversity and the knock- on impact it has had. The Macmillan Coffee Morning always happens the same week as City Giving Day and this has been a mainstay of our client events programme for 10 years. Obviously, we can’t run two fundraising events in the same week, so we’ve found other ways to be involved on the day itself as well as throughout the year.
On my first City Giving Day in 2018 I went along to Guildhall Yard for the Lord Mayor’s opening address and did a few social media posts to help promote the day. We’d only just heard about City Giving Day and hadn’t had a chance to immerse ourselves in it, but as City Giving Day is about giving in general and not just to the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, we were able to tag The Lord Mayor’s Appeal on the social media we did around our Macmillan Coffee Morning a couple of days later. Support on social media is vital for spreading the word and hopefully encouraging others to future participation. I hope you’ve all tweeted about your presence here today.
It was at my second engagement breakfast that I met the very charming Lady Mayoress Amanda Keaveny, who is an active supporter and volunteer at multiple London-based homeless charities. Having spoken to her at the breakfast about her support for the homeless, when a colour misprint meant that we received a job lot of the wrong colour branded mugs, I contacted Amanda to see if any of her homeless shelters could use them and a couple of them were delighted to accept a few boxes. This wouldn’t have happened but for City Giving Day.
On City Giving Day 2019 I joined the Music in Offices Choir which welcomed the Lord Mayor to the Guildhall for the day’s opening address. In the evening I was part of a team from our head office in Barbican which joined the City Giving Day Quiz Night, which was great fun, even though we didn’t win.
In 2020, when everything was virtual, I joined the Music in Offices choir again, this time in a virtual performance with Supertramp saxophonist John Helliwell. Being stuck at home was no barrier to participation. That virtual experience spilled over to singing live with John at The Guildhall for the former Lord Mayor’s Finale last November, an event which raised over £300,000 for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. A couple of weeks later I joined Music in Offices in Trafalgar Square for carol singing to raise funds for the Royal Trinity Hospice. This wouldn’t have happened but for City Giving Day.
Being part of City Giving Day has also given me a much broader appreciation of the responsibility that goes with being a business operating within the City of London. It was at one of these breakfasts that I met a representative from the Heart of the City, a charity which supports City-based SME’s in their responsible business practice. Soon after, BE Offices were signed up as one of their ambassador organisations supporting Heart of the City members in their corporate social responsibility endeavours as well as playing a tiny part in developing the exceptional Climate Action for SME’s resources and training course which Heart of the City have produced, free resources which are already helping businesses with their decarbonisation strategies ahead of London’s target to reach Net Zero by 2030.
While City Giving Day is a flagship one-day event, the fabulous team at the Lord Mayor’s Appeal work tirelessly all year round to support their nominated charities and to create a better city for all who live and work here, consistently working to uphold the four pillars, to create a city that is inclusive, healthy, skilled and fair.
A healthy city is something which really strikes a chord with me, with sustainability being high on the agenda at BE Offices. On this note, and through my expanded interest in the City as a whole, I became a volunteer air quality ambassador for the Cross River Partnership, an affiliate of the City of London Corporation, working on sustainability initiatives and seeking to reduce air pollution in the capital. This would not have happened without City Giving Day.
Another opportunity to support the City Giving Day ethos came in early 2021 when a LinkedIn post by former Lord Mayor Sir William Russell, who I connected with as a direct result of City Giving Day, alerted me to the Culture and Commerce Taskforce he was spearheading to accelerate economic recovery from the pandemic and secure the City’s creative future. We were delighted to support the initiative by providing the Culture Mile team with free office space as a hub for creative collaboration over the summer. We received a visit from Sir William himself too, which was a boost to staff and clients in the building and great for PR. I was also able to join one of the taskforce sub-committees and met some extraordinarily inspirational people.
Through this collaboration, and ahead of the Culture Mile’s bid to create a business improvement district, I was extremely honoured to be asked to co-chair their sustainable environment steering group, tasked with supporting City businesses to transition to net zero and prioritise planetary health. This would not have happened without City Giving Day.
I could wax lyrical all day about the manifold benefits of being involved with City Giving Day, but really I should summarise now by saying that for anyone thinking of signing up to take part, please don’t hesitate and if you are daunted by the prospect of organising your own event then simply find a way of getting involved which is right for you and your business.
That might just be going red on the day and showing your support on social media, perhaps signing up for one of the organised events such as the treasure hunt or quiz.
Taking the initial step to sign up is like sowing a mixed bag of seeds from which can grow the most unexpected and beautiful garden of opportunities.
Opportunities not only to do good for others but to develop in ways you might never have imagined, both as an individual and as a business. Aligning activities with your company’s CSR goals and, in the process, improving brand perception and brand loyalty. It’s an all-round win-win for everyone.”
Outside of City Giving Day BE Offices are involved with numerous social impact initiatives throughout the year with fundraising events such as the Macmillan Coffee Morning, taking part in the Great City Race in support of Futuremakers, taking part in the Dragon Boat Regatta in support of the Children of St Mary’s Intensive Care Unit and giving each employee three days paid leave to take part in volunteering activities of their choice. In addition we’ve funded two-week all-expenses paid international staff volunteering missions which in the past have seen us working with communities in Cambodia, street children and girls rescued from trafficking in Nepal, at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, on a reef conservation project in Belize and at a turtle conservation project in Costa Rica.