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Initiatives that make a difference

Morrisons and Save the Children: changing policy to engage staff in charity fundraising


By the end of their three year Partnership, Morrisons and Save the Children expect to have raised around £6.8 million for disadvantaged families in the UK. David Hewitt, Communities Manager at the retailer, thinks the key to the award-winning Partnership’s success is understanding, longevity and communication.

Barnardo’s in Business: You won a 2013 Business Charity Award for adopting policies to significantly increase Charitable donations and activities by your workforce. What policies did you change and why?

We used to have one-year Partnerships, but for the first few months we’d get systems in place and before the end we’d look for our next Partner. We decided to change our strategy to work with Charities for three years. We wanted to form a lasting relationship and understand more clearly what we were fundraising for. Now we fund a specific UK-based project and recruit volunteer Charity Champions in our 500 stores.

Did you have any reservations about making the changes?

We were nervous about whether our 130,000 staff and customers would support the Charity to the same level since it was a longer partnership. But, each year, they are raising more for Save the Children. We’ve given stores more freedom to organise their own activities if they want to. Others take part in the events we organise centrally, such as Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day or our bespoke Great British Cupcake Sale.


You’ve more than doubled the initial fundraising target of £3 million. Why has this Partnership engaged staff in fundraising?

It’s tangible. We’ve funded 119 of Save the Children’s Families and Schools Together (FAST) programmes, which support parents to improve their children's learning and development. We feature a case study of one of the families we support in our monthly staff magazine, leading to a greater understanding of the cause.

Staff chose the Charity in a vote and the Champions co-ordinate fundraising locally. I’m supported by three regional staff, and we keep in touch with the Champions, providing them with promotional materials and getting press coverage. We’re better at thanking staff, through our Champions. There’s a constant dialogue.

What have been the benefits for both organisations?

We’ve helped raise awareness of Save the Children’s work, as well as money. At both the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences this year, we had a joint stand promoting the FAST programme.

Having a longer Partnership has helped to build recognition of our “Raise a Smile” brand and there’s a fit because we’re a family retailer working with a well-known children’s Charity. There will be a legacy because of the level of income which we have raised.

Any tips for other companies embarking on a Charity Partnership?

Consider a longer Partnership, have a constant dialogue and remember it’s about give and take. Save the Children asked us to support them with emergency appeals, and because we work so closely with their contacts on a daily basis, we made this happen in a matter of days.

You too can create an innovative Charity Partnership with Barnardo’s

Barnardo’s has worked successfully with long-term corporate Partners, including KPMG and the Kier Group. We also have flexible annual campaigns with companies such as Aldi Stores  and Colgate  and worked closely with Morrisons as part of ITV’s Text Santa television appeal last Christmas.

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