We recently caught up with Kate Bolton, the Founder of Comms for Good. Kate has a passion for building communities and weaving CSR into the fabric of teams rather than delegating the activity to a separate function. The act of doing good – investing and giving back to the communities in which we work – can both energize teams and deliver tangible benefits to society. FinTECHTalents is excited about working with Comms for Good and creating an opportunity for us have a positive impact through the festival. Watch this space as we create a program for giving.
Tell us about Comms for Good and its mission
Comms for Good is about finding, creating and sharing positive stories – and the impact and all-round benefit of doing this in a business setting. Comms for Good is on a mission to maximise the positive impact that organisations and industries, and the individuals within them, can have on their local community by doing good. The initiative emerged following a combination of realisations on my part…
Firstly: doing good things makes people feel good, it inspires and motivates them – and as a result this generates more people doing more good. And the more personally connected to the ‘good thing’, the more people are inspired to do and give. It’s the ripple effect image, in which a single small action ripples out to inspire more and more small actions, with the impact positive growing exponentially. Socially, in communities, in families, in life, this is a powerful thing.
Secondly: when we take this understanding and apply it in a business setting, it gets even more interesting. Teams, organisations, industries even, are at their most creative, innovative and successful when they have inspired, motivated, happy employees. Organisations are also – some more willingly than others – obliged to demonstrate Corporate Social Responsibility and positive impact. However, in most companies, the areas of business innovation, creativity, and market influence are managed quite separately, by completely different people, then those responsible for CSR.
I realised a couple of years ago, when I was responsible for global comms and brand awareness in a banking sector organisation, the huge value in weaving CSR in to the fabric of the way organisations work. Instead of keeping CSR as a separate, background function that many remain unaware of or uninspired by, why not weave it into the way we do business? Let’s find ways to put CSR in the hands of individual employees and keep it front and centre at networking events, conferences, communications, sales activities and campaigns.
Imagine the difference it could make – imagine that ripple effect – if we weave CSR into everyone’s day job: we can motivate teams, then organisations and in turn inspire industries to do both great things at work AND in the community.
How has the industry responded to the goal of giving back to the communities in which they live and operate?
I see a growing interest from individuals, especially younger people, to give back to communities – e.g. through local volunteering or sporting challenges, such running a marathon or jumping from a plane – often inspired by a personal experience. Social media has made it easier to motivate people into action, share stories, fundraise etc. In the industry, I also see a lot of high profile, big brand charity campaigns, for example where a large bank partners with a national or global charity to raise funds and awareness. However, there is a disconnect between the two – a big gap – and the industry is missing a trick by not responding to this.
It would be great to see ideas around community support and giving hard wired into innovative new products. Have you seen any examples of that in your work?
A lot of effort is being put into technology to enable or improve charitable giving: e.g. contactless charity donation boxes from organisations like National Funding Scheme’s Tap + Donate, or Goodbox. Or tech for micro donations, such as Donate the Change and their wearable payments options that allow people to choose a charity and donate (e.g.) 30p every time they use their wristband, ring or key-fob to pay for something. Another example is For Good Causes; their solution lets people donate their unused retail reward points to a charity of their choice.
There are so many opportunities to weave giving into products and services once you start thinking that way. In a consumer facing sector like financial services, if you start thinking and creating with a giving hat on, you are in the best place to reach pretty much everyone. It really does become world-changing.
What do you think is the best way to get people involved in supporting local charities?
Make it personal. At work, make it part of everyone’s remit – not something handled by another team or department. Let each person choose who and how they support (part of making it personal). Weave the means to give into a company’s employee benefit package. Move away from idea of single Charity of the Year which may tick a CSR box, but is easy to feel uninvolved. In terms of products and services, make it part of the solution or the sales deal. e.g. banks encouraging saving by giving to a person’s chosen charity, or a donation to a charity for switching etc. or B2B contracts with a ‘for good’ element.
Can you tell us about your best ever festival experience, bearing in mind that FinTECHTalents isn’t running until October?
My favourite kind of festival is a food or drink festival – something that celebrates, showcases and shares the best of what is new, in season, local. It’s an opportunity to learn, share ideas, get inspiration and enjoy with others a thing you love. There is such a sense of connection in celebrating and sharing with others with the things you care about most – and that is what’s special about festivals, be they for music, books, art, food, or fintech! They make you want to do more. Be more.