As we dig out our winter coats and Christmas films reach TV screens, it’s clear that the season of goodwill is upon us. To celebrate the occasion, we thought we’d join in with our own 12 Days of Christmas with a twist – so sit back, put your feet up with a nice hot chocolate and enjoy our 12 ways of impact.
1. Use business as a force for good: The Cookie Bar, Hotel Birgkarhaus and Free Bird Film might be selling different products and experiences but they all have something in common – their profits are used to support social projects to make a real difference. Social enterprises are all around you and it’s not necessarily about giving more. Make sure that when you do part with your hard earned cash, take a look around to see who you’re handing your money over to – you might be able to get the same product whilst supporting a cause you care about.
2. Invest in projects that create opportunity & empowerment: Our partner Habitat for Humanity’s motto “it’s a hand up, not a hand-out” is key. It is said that wealth is an accident of geography and our microfinance loans in partnership with Habitat help to break down some of the barriers to allow individuals the chance to build a better future for themselves.
3. Educate the next generation: When you’re thinking about the future it’s important to consider who the future business leaders of tomorrow might be. For this reason, talks are given to universities all over the world so that they can learn about our system and how businesses can be used to tackle these issues. What if every company donated a proportion of their profits to social projects?
4. Contribute through volunteering: Sometimes all that’s needed is a helping hand (or two) and over the years COINS employees haven’t been afraid to get stuck in with our projects. Earlier this year we sent a group to a Habitat build in Romania, a great way to do some team building (literally) it also demonstrates what we’re working to achieve. If you’d like to know more about opportunities to be involved – get in touch.
5. Form partnerships that will continue to make a difference: Earlier this year the first PEAS (Promoting Equality in African School) school with the Zambian government opened. Working with PEAS we can help them to provide quality and affordable education and government support and grants are instrumental to this. Individually this would not have been possible but together we can achieve more.
6. Work with individuals who challenge ‘perceptions’ of what is possible: Sometimes you have to see it to believe it, and two examples of this are athletes Chris Symonds and Rachel Morris. Multi-medallist and World Champion Chris sails against both disabled and able bodied competitors as well as training and mentoring younger sailors. With Paralympic titles and medals from both hand cycling and rowing, Rachel now works closely with the students at Stepping Stones School alongside her motivational talks.
7. Engage COINS employees with our partners and our projects: Every employee working to make COINS a success is contributing to the work that we can do with our partners. Our in-house talks from our charity partners provides a great opportunity for staff to find out more about a specific area so that they can help to spread the word too.
8. Create opportunities beyond the classroom: Stepping Stones is a school for students with mild to moderate disabilities who might struggle to flourish in mainstream education. A more flexible curriculum helps students to reach their potential academically but the goals are bigger than that, it’s about their school experience as a whole. Development of the Surrey Para Games has helped to improve participation in sport and social aspects, whilst work experience programmes support the transition after school life.
9. Give back to the construction industry to support the next generation: The COINS Grand Challenge is a global competition to uncover innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders with ideas that can improve the built environment. Focussing on improving the environment through sustainability, various prizes from funding, or work experience positions were available to those with successful ideas.
10. Promote our partners or other NGOs: Our social enterprise media and production company Free Bird Film know what they’re good at so they use their skills to produce quality media and promotional material that will help with awareness or fundraising on a much bigger scale.
11. Celebrate achievements whilst always thinking bigger: Our annual event is a great opportunity to celebrate all achievements including performances from some of the students at Stepping Stones School with our partners, friends and supporters. An inclusive event we have the opportunity to thank everyone for their involvement as we look towards what more we can achieve.
12. Encourage others to take action: The success of COINS has enabled COINS Foundation to support the projects that we do. It is important that we set an example that successful business and responsible business should go hand in hand. Every person we can influence to take action opens a whole network of opportunities to be a force for good.