Today is Red Nose Day (RND), and a great opportunity to get out there and, in Comic Relief’s own words, “do something funny for money”. We’re supporting RND at Stripe (not by buying plastic noses but paying to wear red and tell the worst jokes), but what about the rest of the year? What are we doing as a business and as individuals to play our part and ‘give back’ beyond baking cakes and taking the calorific content of morning tea to epic proportions?
It’s a good question. Let’s face it, we don’t really need £10 worth of homemade cookies and cakes at 11am, but it’s easy, quick and visible. It lets us all feel OK that we’ve done our bit for charity.
While fundraising is hugely important, what’s harder is really being committed. What’s harder is standing up for something we believe in, tackling difficult issues, putting ourselves in others’ shoes, taking the path less travelled, thinking and acting differently. And asking your staff to do all that when you’re already a busy agency.
At Stripe, giving back is high on our agenda. We believe it’s our duty to support the communities we live and work in, to provide opportunity, to inspire, assist, encourage and champion. It benefits those around us and invigorates our staff, challenges perspectives and encourages fresh thinking year-round.
So, are we walking the walk – you decide? For the past 12 years, we’ve offered every Stripe a Passion Day to support a cause close to their heart, had a companywide charitable focus for the year and given guest lectures to inform and inspire the next generation of communicators. We’ve worked free of charge to address the taboo of self-harm, to challenge sexism and outdated mindsets in the communications industry and to raise awareness (and funds) for a specialist Breast Cancer unit. We’ve slept out in freezing temperatures to support the end of homelessness in Scotland, we’ve improved school playgrounds, cycled across the country, paid every single internship and mentored rising stars.
We’re doing all this not because we have to, but because we want to. So, while we’re absolutely doing something funny for money today, it’s important to us to give back and pay it forward year-round.