Guest blog post written by Aivee Robinson, Co-Founder and CEO of Catalyser.
The pressure from the ongoing pandemic has meant a steady increase in recovery assistance needed by communities around the world. However, amid the constant challenges and uncertainties, small businesses are proving to be the new powerhouse for rapid response to help those in need.
Collective giving is a powerful force. The concept is simple – when many individuals each give a small amount, the quantum can make a real change in the world.
This has been a driving force behind the rise in workplaces establishing employee giving and corporate philanthropy programs to support local communities in need. The idea proves that you don’t need a lot of money to be part of a collective giving movement with real social impact. With the back-to-back crises of the past 18 months, there has never been a more important time for us to come together.
However, where workplace giving has previously been known as a ‘large company concept’, small and medium businesses are now proving they can pool their resources to generate equally powerful social outcomes. New technology options have empowered businesses of every size to establish rapid response appeals. Catalyser, a Xero customer, is leading the way with their nimble and customisable giving platform that can bring teams together and launch a giving campaign in moments.
The first Xero Community Appeal
In response to the ongoing pandemic, Xero launched its first global Community Appeal with Catalyser. This unified appeal across all of Xero’s offices around the world provided every team member with a local experience of donating in their own currency to charities in their own communities. Every donation, no matter how small or large, was matched by Xero, dollar for dollar – doubling the impact of every donation.
The global Xero team raised almost $200,000 which was enough to pay for a safe night of accommodation for 1,400 women fleeing domestic violence in New Zealand, mental health consults for almost 3,670people in Australia and the UK and over 6,000 hygiene kits to help kids in Asia stay healthy and minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The donations also provided support for 457 Black youths in Canada to build the skills and confidence to run their own businesses. A fantastic result with wide reaching outcomes.
Strength in numbers
Over the past year and a half, kids in rural and regional schools around Australia have dealt with the triple curse of drought, bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic. Compounding this is the additional challenge of limited access to the internet and computers required to facilitate remote learning through lockdown. Catalyser supported the My Life Story program to rapidly bring together a group of businesses to sponsor 1,000 students from more than 20 rural schools to access essential literacy programs and mental health support packages. Kelly Brown, Founder and Director of Recovery Partners Australia sponsored an entire class of students to access this important program, saying “Joining forces with other businesses that also care was a great way to give back and to make sure our support was immediately directed to the kids that need our help the most”.
Responsive and nimble
Despite the increased volatility and ongoing uncertainty the world continues to experience, new research by McCrindle reveals individuals have increased their generosity when it comes to supporting charities. In fact, more than 85% of people donating believe the events of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic have given them an increased appreciation for the work of charities.
This willingness to get behind communities in need was demonstrated by a disaster relief campaign spearheaded by Practice Ignition, a Xero integration partner, during the last bushfire season. Practice Ignition worked with Catalyser to rapidly galvanise their community of staff, customers and suppliers to raise an incredible $30,000 for essential services for affected families and the rescue and protection of wildlife. Practice Ignition’s CEO Guy Pearson said, “Having a community of engaged customers like ours is an opportunity to come together and create impact at scale. People want to be part of change and our community enables accounting practices of all sizes to respond quickly and powerfully”.
Stories about how small and medium businesses have demonstrated their resilience and adaptability through the COVID pandemic have proven they are not only the ‘engine room’ of the economy, but also the lynchpin in our community by leading the way to help those in need.