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22 Nov 2017

BY Abra Dunsby


Team work: Flight Centre on the benefits of a charity partnership

Teaming up with a charity is a great way for travel agencies – both big and small – to give something back. Abra Dunsby speaks to Flight Centre’s Emily West for tips about what makes a successful charity partnership

A group of Flight Centre employees completed the 100-mile Prudential Ride London this year

TTG speaks to Flight Centre’s Emily West for tips about what makes a successful charity partnership

When it comes to donating, is it better to focus on one charity or several? It is a question we might ponder in our personal lives but it can be just as important in a professional capacity.


Flight Centre is one travel company that champions the value of a charity partnership.


It raised more than £240,000 for Alzheimer’s UK over the course of a two-year partnership, and entered into a new charity partnership with Mind in February this year.


The company has pledged a fundraising target of £100,000 by the end of the year, matching everything raised by staff pound for pound.


Emily West, charity project manager at Flight Centre, knows the upsides of working with a charity partner.


“Having one charity means you can forward plan and get people involved and excited for future events,” she says.


“If we had one charity for a few months at a time, people might crave continuity, plus they might not feel as passionate about the cause. With one partner, people know who they’re supporting and they know exactly how they can get involved. You end up raising more money, too,” she adds.


West explains that Flight Centre chooses a charity partner “every year or every other year”. All staff members were asked to nominate a charity that they value or feel close to at the start of the year.


Based on the nominations, West and her team then compiled a shortlist of five charities, which went out to a company-wide vote.

Positive thinking

Mental health charity Mind came back as the most popular charity. “We had a great response. It’s a good feeling to know we’re doing something positive as a business,” says West.


She says another upside of working with a charity partner is access to large-scale events for fundraising: “Our partnership means that Mind is able to get us places at Ride London, the London Marathon and the Royal Parks Half Marathon, for example.


“We get the charity places and then communicate it out to the business to see who wants to get involved,” says West.


The majority of money raised by Flight Centre comes from these “personal challenges”, says West.


Staff members have relished the chance to join in, with some proactively contacting West to tell her about initiatives they have organised.


“We’ve had 70 members of staff take on personal challenges, be it a sky dive, a half marathon or the Inflatable 5K Santa Run. Nothing is too weird or too wonderful,” she laughs.


One of the quirkier ideas comes from six members of the sales team, who are planning to release a charity Christmas single and accompanying video. “We’re not sure of the song yet but we’re very excited to hear it!” she adds.

Team spirit

West calls the partnership “a huge success”, with a total of £96,518 raised so far. “We’re hoping to absolutely smash our target.


"We have lots of fundraising coming up in December – it’s always a busy time for charity events,” she says.


The level of engagement among staff has been such that Flight Centre will carry the partnership forward until at least July 2018, with fundraising plans to include a Mount Kilimanjaro climb next year.


“It’s been our most successful charity partnership so far,” says West. It all proves that aside from raising money for a worthy cause, a charity partnership such as Flight Centre’s encourages a positive company outlook and plenty of team spirit.

Emily West's fundraising tips

1. Bake sales always do well – they’re simple but fun, and you can jump on The Great British Bake Off hype. Turn it into a competition, with prizes for the best bake, for example.

2. Include some challenges. Our marketing team recently did Mind Hike the Lakes, a 24-hour 40-mile hike around the Lake District. The team said it was tough but so rewarding. We’ll do one again in the New Year.

3. Include something fun, like the Inflatable Santa Run. It’s only 5K, so not too tricky.
4. Pub quizzes are a failsafe and you can run them in unison with a raffle. They’re accessible as no training is needed, and easy to organise – you just need a pub or a village hall for a few hours. It’s also a chance for staff to meet, have fun and not talk about work.

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TTG Media Limited.
Place of registration: England and Wales.
Company number 08723341.
Registered address: New Bridge Street House, 30-34 New Bridge Street, London EC4V 6BJ
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