Giving back (and enjoying the ride!)
Written by Mat Valencic
Being helpful is a big part of our culture and DNA here at INSHUR. We even dedicated one of our values – We are helpful and grounded – to support this. And while helping each other is very much who we are, we also realise that there is a lot more that we can give and do, and extend our support beyond the imaginary walls of our business.
2020 has been an odd year, to say the least, and we consider ourselves lucky. We survived the initial lockdown in the UK and the US, without any major sacrifices in the business. We’ve had to make no redundancies and the only people taking a (temporary) paycut were members of our leadership team. We have done very well in adapting our ways of working, and are now more equipped and knowledgeable for what lies ahead.
Not everyone has been so lucky. Businesses are closing down, people are losing jobs, and many who had it hard before, are now struggling even more. So in 2020, we decided to give something back and help as much as we can. We were looking for challenges we could sign up to and raise money for charity, but we also organised some of our own events. And while some of these charitable events started spontaneously, we will definitely make them a part of our culture going forward.
Miles for Refugees
It was sometime in August when an email from British Red Cross landed in one of our inboxes. Miles for refugees initiative encouraged us to either walk, run, cycle (or even swim!) a certain amount of miles that refugees would have travelled on foot when seeking asylum to raise money for a good cause.
People Team were quick to form a team and sign up. There were several distances we could choose from, but we opted for one of the shortest one (to be safe!). Between us, we aimed to run 108 miles in September, which is the distance between Calais and London, which some of the refugees would have travelled.
As the month went on and our miles started clocking up nicely, we managed to beat our target and move up to the next challenge – twice! From 108 miles to 160 miles (the distance between Tunis and Sicily), and then to 285 miles (the distance between Paris and London). I’m glad to report that, by the end of September, we covered a total of 311 miles!
However, miles were not the main drive for this challenge, the fundraiser was. We managed to raise £640 between us and we couldn’t be more grateful to everyone that donated. To top it all up, INSHUR offered to match our money raised, so the total donation to the British Red Cross was £1,280!
In October we hosted our first charity Poker tournament. Organised on a grassroots level by none other than our CEO as a voluntary online social event, it was open for all – beginners and experienced players alike. It was agreed that all winnings will be donated to the winner’s charity of choice. INSHUR provided each participant with their virtual chips to play, and they were then turned into a monetary sum (1 chip = $1 or £ equivalent).
For those who know nothing about Poker (like me); this was a great opportunity to learn more about the game while spending some quality time with fellow INSHURers.
Our two winners – both in the UK – each picked a charity they wanted to donate to: half of the £700 award was donated to Mencap – a charity working to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities; and the other half to homeless charity Crisis.
As part of this year’s festive celebrations, we also organised our very own Christmas Jumper/Sweater Day to raise money for Save the Children UK and US.
Of course, it’s about more than just wearing silly knits – by raising money, we can come together to help kids learn, grow and be who they want to be. Children really are the best cause out there and helping them change their own futures is something worth getting behind.
We’ve opened two donations pages on JustGiving, one for the UK and one for the US, and we are pleased to announce that we have so far raised £587 and $285 for Save the Children in each territory respectively!
While games nights and sports challenges are fun and we plan to organise and sign up to more of these going forward, these are typically one-off events. To have something ongoing in place and give our team members a chance to give back by, well, putting someone forward, we introduced a referral bonus.
We’re always on the lookout for talented people to come and work with us. Even in 2020, while somewhat slowed down, this hasn’t stopped. And as great people tend to know great people, there’s no better way to find people than getting them referred.
Our referral bonus stands at £1,000 to be pocketed by the person referring, and – even better, additional £1,000 (or equivalent in $ and €) is payable to a charity of their choice. A variety of charities, both local and global, have benefited from the scheme in the past, and this will only continue to grow in the future.
Help us do more!
What does your company do to give back? We are keen to find more ways we can give back to the community – so any ideas or suggestions for challenges we can join, events we can organise, get in touch and tell us about it!
To quote another one of our values – We are always learning!