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Work for good

6 December 2016

The article at a glance

Venture begun by Cambridge MBA alumnus Rupert Pick helps simplify business donations to charities. There are more than 195,000 charities in the …

Category: Insight

Venture begun by Cambridge MBA alumnus Rupert Pick helps simplify business donations to charities.

opportunities to work for good are all around

Rupert Pick
Rupert Pick

There are more than 195,000 charities in the UK and they all seek our support. It’s pretty easy to donate individually or to raise money via a road race or other event, but it can be surprisingly complicated if a company wants to support charities – so much so that charities actually turn offers away.

Providing a hassle-free way to support multiple charities is what inspired the creation of Work for Good, a charity fundraising platform for businesses. The brainchild of Rupert Pick, Cambridge Judge MBA alumnus (2008), Work for Good was established in October 2015 and now employs six people.

Rupert got the idea of harnessing professional expertise to raise funds around three years ago when his daughter Ottie was born, 10 weeks premature and with two rare genetic disorders affecting both her bones and her heart. “She has already spent more time in hospital than a typical family spends in a lifetime, but she keeps on smiling and battling on. It was this attitude that inspired me to set up Work for Good. Our hope is to make ‘giving’ the right commercial call where working for good is good for work.”

But it was only when Rupert met ex-investment banker Danny Witter, now CEO of Work for Good, that the idea quickly materialised.

“Our mission is to help businesses give intelligently in a way that is good for business as well as doing the right thing,” says Danny. “By visibly linking giving to sales of goods and services, a company can impress customers, engage employees and strengthen brand.”

So how does it work? A company signs up for free on the Work for Good website and creates an account. Then they select a charity or multiple charities to support, and decide how they’d like to get involved: it could be an ongoing commitment or a short promotion event – it’s entirely up to each company.

The business then pays via the platform, and the Work for Good team forwards the money to all the charities. Companies can set up a public giving page on the website to explain how and why they are donating. They are also encouraged to display the Work for Good mark to show their social values and to help to spread the word.

Work for Good helps cut through the complexity about businesses giving to charity. “If donations are in any way linked to sales or goods then the company needs to negotiate an agreement with a charity, the business has disclosure obligations, and the charity has a VAT tax risk,” Danny says. “As a result, charities are forced to turn down approaches from smaller businesses, which is crazy at a time of such funding pressure.”

Harriet Colley from Evelina London Children’s Healthcare said: “Work for Good gives all companies, however small, the chance to engage with CSR (corporate social responsibility) and charitable giving in a way that makes sense for their business. It streamlines the process of donating, while giving the company an attractive way of showcasing their support both online and through the Work for Good mark. We received five new business donations in the first month of participation, showing the potential this has to widen the net of possible support for charities.”

Work for Good is finishing beta testing with 88 business and 49 charities in the UK, including well-known brands such as British Heart Foundation, Sue Ryder and London Air Ambulance.

Within five years the team is aiming to work with 50,000 UK businesses to generate £60 million a year to 5,000 charities. And if everything goes well the business will be looking to expand beyond the UK.

Work for Good is Rupert’s second venture since graduating from the Cambridge MBA. He continues to run Hot Pickle, an award-winning marketing agency he founded with fellow classmate Patrick Hammond.

Rupert is interested in…

…businesses signing up and spreading the word. I’d also like to hear from anybody interested in what Work for Good is doing.