In the last 12 months, charity fundraising has been turned on its head. From corporate fundraising dinners to iconic charity runs, tentpole events that raise millions of pounds for charities every year have had to be postponed or cancelled as the pandemic took hold. Equally, the closure of offices has robbed those small, powerful daily events that accrue so much for charities over the year – think collection boxes, bake sales or charity quizzes.
With the charity sector facing this extraordinary pressure, here at NTT DATA UK we were more determined than ever to do our bit. We have encouraged our teams to search for innovative ways to continue to raise money – whilst still protecting everyone’s health.
At NTT DATA UK, we have been working for several years with a charity called Street Child. Across Asia and Africa, Street Child works tirelessly to provide educational opportunities for poor and vulnerable children. It strives towards a future where all children – whatever their background – are safe and benefiting from learning in school. The charity has joined forces in recent years with several other educational charities, bringing on board Children in Crisis (backed by the Duchess of York) and Lessons for Life Foundation (backed by Liberty Global).
How we helped
One of Street Child’s biggest annual events is the Big Ride for Africa. Every year, hundreds of riders come together to cycle incredible distances to raise lots of money for charity. We had a six person NTT DATA UK team lined up to enter, along with an agreement with Street Child to be one of the corporate sponsors of the event.
When COVID-19 arrived, rather than cancel the event, Street Child launched a virtual Big Ride for Africa – encouraging teams to safely ride as much as possible across two weeks in September 2020.
I am proud to say our team at NTT DATA UK (myself, Keith McAleese, Justine Healey, Gareth Lyon, Stephen Johncock and Oliver Kuhn) all rose to the occasion magnificently. We found time in our busy working lives to get on the roads or onto our exercise bikes – a perfect way to stay fit and healthy during lockdown, as well as of course to raise lots money for a good cause.
When restrictions allowed, four of us even found time to come together for a socially distanced ride through the Chiltern Hills. After months apart it was a real joy to see each other again, enjoying some exhilarating off-road cycling (a first for a lifelong road biker like me) and even a beer halfway through!
Overall, the team’s efforts – combined with NTT DATA UK’s corporate sponsorship of the Big Ride – raised an incredible £20,000.
And we did not stop there. Internally we have continued our fundraising for Street Child with virtual quizzes and other events, ensuring that despite COVID-19 we continue to keep momentum going and support Street Child’s work for vulnerable children around the world.
Why we do it
At NTT DATA, we are committed to contributing to a more affluent and harmonious society. Our charity partnerships align perfectly with this mission statement, helping support organisations that improve the lives of countless vulnerable and marginalised people around the world.
Street Child is an ideal partner to realise this vision. Its work bringing education to children is a moral cause of the utmost importance. But more than that it is in our interest as a business to support the next generation of talent. It is these children who will be the leaders of tomorrow, helping to harness the power of technology to create innovative solutions for the world’s problems.
Universal access to education will help to bridge so many of the inequalities that continue to shut out so many diverse groups from the benefits of technology. That is why, here at NTT DATA, we will continue to support the fostering of a next generation of innovators as we all strive to build a better world.