COVID-19 has impacted almost every aspect of our lives at both a personal and professional level with individuals and businesses suffering. Working together to make it through this difficult period has been more important than ever. Before the pandemic hit, one of Impression’s core values already centred around giving back to our community and showing that business can be a force for good. During a year that has truly challenged everyone, we’re really proud to have been able to support a variety of initiatives.
Looking for areas that need support and thinking of ways in which we can help is a team effort. Across Impression, we are lucky to employ a passionate workforce who are motivated to find ways to give back and support causes that we really care about. Here’s a roundup of what we’ve been up to in 2020:
January – Mock Interviews
Before we knew how 2020 would unfold, our dedicated CSR team had already planned a calendar of initiatives that we hoped to support throughout the year. The first was partnering with Ellis Guilford School in Nottingham to provide mock interview training for Year 11 students. This experience was invaluable as it allowed the students to gain real life experience of an interview process. Following the process, interviewer Saffron Shergill, provided them with essential feedback to aid their career development.
February – World Cancer Day
To raise awareness for Cancer Research UK’s World Cancer Day we held our own bake sale at Impression HQ, inviting nearby offices to sample some of our homemade savoury delights in return for a donation. Created in 2000, World Cancer Day is a leading international awareness day taking place every February 4th. It’s grown into a positive movement for everyone, everywhere and its supporters are committed to creating a cancer free future.
We were pleased to raise over £250 for Cancer Research UK. You can make your own donation here.
February – The Prince’s Trust Training Day
During a time that saw no restrictions in place, we were delighted to host a training morning for over 40 young people involved in The Prince’s Trust scheme at our office. Speakers from Impression delivered presentations to introduce the core foundations of digital marketing. The sessions also highlighted ways that smaller businesses can apply techniques to get the most out of their marketing strategy if working with a lower budget. With the UK youth unemployment rate increasing, this day was valuable in supporting those seeking employment in our industry.
March – The Robin Hood Fund
The Robin Hood Fund launched in response to COVID-19, aiming to raise £25,000 to enable many of Nottingham’s great community based projects to continue to operate throughout lockdown, from food banks to food delivery for the vulnerable and more. Proud of our Nottingham roots, we were inspired by this initiative and keen to offer our support in any way that we could.
Prior to COVID-19, Impression won a £2,000 cash prize after winning a competition run by Microsoft. As soon as we became aware of The Robin Hood Fund shining the light on the community issues here in Nottingham, we knew that donating the full £2,000 was the best way to spend this money. This was something the whole team felt strongly about.
Following our donation, Impression was approached for advice on how to spend an advertising grant. Eager to continue to support in any way possible, we created and managed a Facebook Ads campaign. All work was delivered pro-bono and the advertising grant provided media spend on Facebook ads.
May – Online Training for Charities and Not for Profits
In 2019 we held a conference for a range of charities to share our knowledge on ways to market effectively with a lower budget. We hoped to hold a similar event in 2020 to continue to help smaller businesses excel in their marketing efforts but COVID-19 meant this was not possible.
Our team still felt passionate about upskilling those working in the industry, especially after learning that charities across the UK had faced a significant loss due to the pandemic. Uncertain at the time as to how much longer we’d be under lockdown restrictions, we opted to deliver training virtually. The benefit to this was that we were not limited to a certain number of attendees we could invite and we were pleased to have supported over 100 viewers! If you couldn’t make our online event, you can catch up on it here.
August – Free Training Guide for Charities and Not for Profits
To continue to offer our support following our online event in May, Impression’s digital marketing experts developed a free downloadable training resource. Our guide helps those working in marketing in the third sector to enhance their digital strategy and connect with their target audience. Our advice considers various budgets, and covers four key areas of digital marketing in depth; Paid Social Advertising, Paid Search, Search Engine Optimisation and Digital PR. No matter how big or small you are as a charity, at least some of the tips and advice will be actionable and relevant for you.
September – Supporting SEO Women
We were delighted to sponsor 2 spots in a giveaway driven by Aleyda Solis. The aim of the giveaway was to support SEO women who were seeking personal development and giveaway advice. Aleyda gave entrants the opportunity to win 6 months access to a course offered by Kirsty Hulse: ROAR! Together online accelerator. After receiving support from many across the industry, the total number of spots that could be won reached 51.
September – Women in Tech SEO Workshop Sponsorship
Women in Tech SEO launched ‘WTS Workshops’, a series of fortnightly workshops open to their community members. Founder Areej AbuAli is on a mission to empower women to share their knowledge and was seeking support in the form of sponsorship to be able to pay speakers and invest in better tech. This was an initiative that we wanted to get behind. All sessions are free to attend for members and workshop speakers are now confirmed until the end of February, you can see the full schedule here.
September – Emmanuel House Clothing Donation
Many charities were forced to close during the lockdown period, so when restrictions started to ease, our CSR team reached out to all staff at Impression to organise a clothing donation. Donations to Emmanuel House had been incredibly thin. The charity was lacking the absolute essentials needed to support the sharp increase in demand for homeless and vulnerably housed people in Nottingham after reopening services.
September – Digital Volunteering for the Uganda Farm Community
Anthony Kalulu turned to farming in 2012 as a way to support his family. A year later he set up a social enterprise called the Uganda Community Farm, in a bid to help other rural farmers in Kamuli, Eastern Uganda. Anthony asked for Impression’s help to raise awareness of his fundraising campaign, which aims to generate money towards an agro-processing plant at the UCF. The intended plant will process six different crops including cassava starch, high-quality cassava starch and threshed and graded cereals, which can be supplied to breweries, paint manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, adhesive and paperboard industries and yoghurt and biscuit producers. The team has opened up conversations with national journalists, while securing coverage in the food and drink sector.
October – Supporting Unicode
The Unicode Consortium is a not for profit organisation which has standardised computer character definitions and continues to innovate these through emojis to this day. One of the objectives of the consortium is to promote accessibility and inclusiveness through communication.
When we heard there was an opportunity to sponsor this by adopting a character, we were excited to claim the ‘link’ emoji (U+1F517). To find out how you can support this organisation with their objective, learn about the Adopt a Character programme here.
November – Impression Becomes Carbon Negative
This is something we are really, really proud of. As an increasing number of businesses take steps to be more aware of their direct carbon emissions, we want to raise awareness of Ecologi, an organisation which plants trees & funds world climate crisis solutions. For organisations looking to offset their own carbon emissions, this is a meaningful initiative to get involved with. Becoming carbon negative was a longstanding, value driven ambition of ours, so we’re delighted that through Ecologi, our carbon aspirations have been met.
Becoming carbon negative is a key element in our ongoing work to become a more impactful business in the coming months. Read about the steps we’ve taken to become carbon negative.
December – Annual Christmas Donation
Each year Impression makes annual Christmas donations to different local charities in order to help as many as possible in Nottinghamshire. We carry out annual surveys across the team to gain insight into charities close to our employees’ hearts, helping us to align our team values with our charitable donations. This year we were pleased to donate to Nottingham Women’s Centre and RSPCA Radcliffe.
Our donation to Nottingham Women’s Centre will go towards the Notts Women’s Crisis Fund. This initiative supports women in buying items such as a fridge and a cooker to feed their family. It also helps them to pay their bills, top up their meters and buy phone credit to stay in touch with loved ones and support services.
RSPCA Radcliffe has found raising funds particularly challenging during the pandemic. Although they have had to close, they have continued to work hard behind the scenes to rehome as many animals as possible.
Supporting growth in our local community and sponsoring initiatives that we believe in is a key part of our company values. Throughout 2021, we will continue to challenge ourselves to support a variety of causes that align with the beliefs and values of our team.