Like all charities, Greenfingers has felt the effect of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic this year. Key events were cancelled, hospice garden builds were delayed, and fundraising activities have looked a little different. One thing that has not changed is the continued support of the garden retail sector, with many suppliers and retailers continuing to dig deep to raise vital funds for the charity. But did you know you there are so many different ways you can help to make a difference, without leaving the comfort of the workplace? Here, Linda Petrons, Director of Fundraising & Communications at Greenfingers Charity, explains the many ways brands can get involved and have done this year.
“It’s easy to think that fundraising has to take the shape of sponsored walks, coffee mornings and acts of endurance. However, not all fundraising activities call for time spent away from the to-do list, nor do they need to be high adrenaline. Many businesses have incorporated support of Greenfingers into their everyday. These many acts of generosity add up to unbelievable sums of money over the year; funds which we are hugely grateful for.”
Charity of the Year partnerships
Many companies decide to select a charity partner each year (or longer!), where activities throughout the duration are designed to raise funds for the charity. Brands such as Stihl and Evergreen Garden Care, have already selected the Greenfingers, with product donations and fundraising activities already bolstering the charity’s coffers. Talking about its three-year charity partnership with Greenfingers, Evergreen Garden Care’s Managing Director, Mark Portman, said: “We wanted to work with the Greenfingers Charity as there are real synergies between the work they do and our passion for helping people to unlock their love for gardening. Since we launched our new partnership we have been able to get involved in a number of different aspects of support, all of which have pulled the Evergreen team together in a really significant way, whether though fundraising activities or by seeing the Greenfingers funded hospice gardens come together, and learning what these spaces mean to patients, families and staff. It’s an honour to be involved.”
Whether it’s a donation amount built into the retail price, or asking customers to make a donation, online sales are one of the easiest ways to generate significant sums over time. The ability to link to the Greenfingers website to showcase the charity’s work also makes it much easier to convert your customers into future charity donors.
One company that optimises the online sales potential on behalf of Greenfingers is Suttons Seeds. Managing Director, David Robinson, said: "Now more than ever, gardeners are appreciating the therapeutic benefits of spending time in their own gardens. They can therefore easily relate to the benefits that parents and children with life-limiting conditions will gain from spending time together, away from their child’s bedside, in the beautiful gardens that you create.”
Since the start of 2020 online sales donations via the suttons.co.uk website has raised in excess of £17k for Greenfingers. A significant sum which is already helping to make a difference.
HTA National Garden Gift vouchers
Currently stocked in 1,600 UK garden centres, the National Garden Gift Voucher scheme is the UK’s longest running promotion of gardening and gardening good causes. Gifted around a million times each year, a donation from each voucher purchased is given to Greenfingers, which means that not only do these vouchers do good, but they keep customers coming back for more – a win/win for both the charity and the garden retail sector.
Carrier Bag Tax
Homebase, , Squire’s, Haskins and British Garden Centres are just some of the businesses that have donated carrier bag tax to Greenfingers. Quite literally tens of thousands of pounds have been raised in this way over the last five years. When talking about the carrier bag tax as a form of providing charitable donations, Linda Petrons said: “I understand that with the right sort of signage at your tills this simple act can turn all begrudging customers paying for carrier bags, whether plastic or paper, into positive supporters of your outlets and your charitable motives."
Another ‘fundraising’ option for manufacturers is creating or allocating a special product which drives sales and at the same time awareness of Greenfingers. In recent years the charity has benefited from ornaments, doormats, garden footwear, gloves, plant pots, books, planters, pot feet, bulbs, seeds, roses and many more products, helping to contribute to its annual income. From a fixed percentage to a set sum, this donation can be allocated to the supplier’s annual budget forecast, making it an incredibly easy way to show their support.
One such supporter, Whartons Roses supports Greenfingers through the sale of the ‘Rosy Cheeks’ floribunda rose. Speaking about the promotion, Robert Wharton said: “The work Greenfingers’ does in creating beautiful gardens at hospices around the country for the use of children and their parents at extremely difficult times, is truly wonderful. Each Christmas we contribute to the charity with a proportion of the income from the rose, with over £8,000 donated so far.”
PR, marketing, design and printing are just some of the ways that Greenfingers is supported outside the traditional realms of fundraising. Like any business, these services can greatly impact the charity’s bottom line, so building relationships with leading suppliers has enabled Greenfingers to significantly reduce such costs. From free of charge skills exchanges to charitable donation ‘rebates’ these donations are flexible and beneficial to both parties through joint promotion. Did you know, for instance, that Hornby Whitefoot PR – Greenfingers’ PR partners for almost a decade – donates half its fee back to the charity each month, providing an easy and consistent way of donating to the charity.
Price round-up through micro-donations
Organisations such as Pennies make it incredibly easy for retailers to capture micro donations which add up to big fundraising sums! Quick and easy to switch on, Pennies can be implemented across different channels including in-store, online, app and in emerging payments. Customers are asked if they wish to to round-up their purchase, with the extra pennies donated heading straight to the charity.
Throughout the year Greenfingers holds a number of events and as soon as we are allowed to safely mingle again, these events will continue. Sponsoring such events – Garden Re-leaf Day to the annual Fundraising Dinner - is a great way of providing financial support for the charity, whilst also helping to get your brand in front of others.
Gifts in Kind
The kind donation of product is a key driver in the creation of Greenfingers gardens. From growing media and fencing, to pots and garden décor, these product donations help to make each garden even more magical whilst helping the charity to channel funds into further garden projects.
Become a friend of the charity
By becoming a Friend of Greenfingers you will be helping the charity to better plan for the future. All that is required is a commitment to making a regular ‘gift’ such as £10 a month or similar. This can be done by cheque, BACS or by setting up a monthly or annual standing order.
As a ‘Friend’ you will receive a Greenfingers Charity pin badge, plus optional access to Greenfingers’ e-newsletters and also a copy of the charity’s Annual Review. You will also be invited to join the charity at the opening of each new Greenfingers gardens in children's hospices.
One-off donations continue to surprise and delight the Greenfingers team. Businesses and individuals often generously donate sums of money to the charity during times of both feast and famine. Smart Garden Products is just one example of this generosity, having donated an incredible £50,000 in the summer of 2020. Speaking about the donation, Smart’s Paris Natar said: “Smart Garden Products is delighted to support the Greenfingers Charity, especially as we appreciate how hard it is for charities at the moment with many corporate sponsors squeezing charity budgets. Smart, like many gardening businesses, has been lucky enough to bounce back strongly from lockdown. It therefore felt like the right time to deploy some of our profits for the benefit of our favourite charity.”
Those suppliers which utilise the retail juggernaut, Amazon, may want to also communicate to their shoppers that the platform also offers the chance to donate to charity by switching to AmazonSmile and by ensuring their products are marked as "Eligible for AmazonSmile donation" via the back office facilities.
AmazonSmile is operated by Amazon with the same products, prices and shopping features. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organisation of your choice.
Using your social media is great way to support Greenfingers. By simply promoting the charity and its work to your followers, each company has the capacity to increase the charity’s brand awareness exponentially. This brand awareness can convert into donations over time, including donations from people that may not have previously known about the charity. The power of a tweet or Instagram post can make a significant difference to the Greenfingers coffers.