Claire Bradford: Get stuck in to benefit community

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AT the weekend, my daughter and I took part in the Great Midlands Fun Run (GMFR) whilst visiting family in Sutton Coldfield.

The GMFR is a large race of around 7,000 people, and it is very charity-focused.

What struck me, on the way round, was the number of businesses that took part, which were raising money for charity – teams resplendent in company colours, odd but business-related items being pushed round the course (I saw a four poster bed, a sofa and a hot tub), and a doggy day-care company taking a number of their clients on the 8.5-miler were some of the highlights.

Of course, there were also the big sponsors with their names splashed over the running numbers, signs and related literature, but it was the ones who were visible on the course and having fun that really made an impact.

It’s easy to be cynical about supporting charity as a PR stunt, but what I liked about the GMFR was that many companies had put the legwork in, too (literally!). These businesses were being ‘real’ – putting together a team of staff to run round Sutton Park on a sunny Sunday, and having a laugh doing it.

Prospective clients didn’t just see the logos and the professional veneer, they saw the people they would actually deal with taking part in a big community event, straining to push a sofa for several miles and still smiling.

What a great advert. The fact this was also raising money for charity was the icing on the cake.

In these cash-strapped times, financially supporting charities through your business can seem unaffordable.

But what about actually doing something for your favourite local charity and raising money for them at the same time?

It’s easy to pass over some cash and get namechecked on the charity’s letterhead, but it’s so much more rewarding to get stuck in by doing something practical (or silly) to raise money instead.

How could your business get involved and have fun benefitting the local community?

Oh, and if you want to sponsor us, we were running for Worthing Churches Homeless Projects – go to www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/glowgirls