Some years ago I owned and ran a PR consultancy. We specialised in working with technology companies and we were relatively successful.
It was important to me that we shared the fruits of our success - that we acted like good neighbours and responsible members of a wider community. So, we made regular donations to charity, we made efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, and we took steps to give something back whenever we could.
But while those well-meant actions were always gratefully received I always knew they were really just a series of one-off events; whether it was paying for a class of kids from a special school to visit the circus, buying a laptop for an autistic child, or making regular donations to a clean water fund, the reality was no matter how good our intentions were that our support began and ended with money.
Of course that’s important, even more so in today’s austerity/post-austerity period, where charity funding is under more pressure than ever. But if you bring to mind that saying give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime, really all we were doing was handing out fish.
This was what came to mind when I read about Parcelly’s partnership with Barnardo’s - this is more than merely handing over money.
It also made me think of conversations about publicising charitable donations I’ve had with businesses I’ve been advising. If all you’re doing is making a donation, and there’s no obvious connection between your business and the charity, there’s a danger you may look like you are seeking to profit from looking compassionate. That’s not a great look. It’s far better to do something more sustainable.
If you’ve read any of my other pieces here on the Parcelly Thought Leadership blog you’ll know I am a supporter of the company’s strategy of empowering high street shops, and others, and enabling them to become part of the ecommerce boom.
Being part of the Barnardo’s network is a great fit with that existing strategy; charity shops are part of the fabric of Britain. Whether you’re looking for a bargain, a quirky gift, or hoping to stumble over a hidden vintage gem, charity shops can be a real treasure trove. Plus the funds generated by sales are ploughed back into supporting the great work those charities do.
By funnelling a proportion of parcel collections into Barnardo’s stores network, Parcelly is helping this important charity in a sustainable way - teaching them to fish for ecommerce-related benefits, if you like.
Barnardo’s collects a fee per parcel it takes in, you - the shopper - are supporting them every time you have a parcel routed there, plus you could even drop off some donated goods or buy a little something while you’re there.
It’s a circular flow of good intentions backed-up with money, creating a long-lasting, sustainable benefit.
And there’s certainly nothing fishy about that.
Sebastian Steinhauser, CEO & Founder of Parcelly highlights: “Charity shops have been part of parcel pick-up and drop-off networks in the past. What we believe was missing, was the right rational behind these types of collaborations. Our most recent partnership with Barnardo's, the UK's largest Children's Charity, is a perfect example of how the traditional click&collect model can be developed further. Parcelly is often identified for its innovation in converting redundant space in local businesses into parcel storage. But, that’s not all we do.
As a company, we take pride in having a social and environmental impact and aim to be sustainable and responsible in all our projects. This is one of the reasons why we were drawn to partnering with such an impressive charity as Barnardo’s; we wanted to be part of an organisation which had a direct and positive impact on people’s lives.
The first stage of our collaboration with Barnardo’s means Parcelly will be available in 90 stores in Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, reaching an even wider range of consumers while attracting greater footfall to their stores. This not only means that Parcelly will be available to more consumers nationally, it also opens the door to more opportunities and donations to the charity. As well as creating convenience for consumers, we also hope to attract a new customer base who would not have previously visited the charity store – making it especially beneficial for Barnardo’s.
Part of the Parcelly DNA is to give back and help bring communities together which is one of the reasons why working with Barnardo’s goes far beyond a business partnership for us. We are very excited to have partnered up with a charity that goes above and beyond to better the lives of children in need. With 100% of profits from parcels that are collected or returned at their stores being reinvested in the charity, we are very excited to see how we can contribute to such a great cause.”
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