The Accumulator Challenge: Why Local Businesses Are Taking On ellenor’s Inventive, Innovative Way To Give Back
PLP Fire to sponsor ellenor's 2021 Accumulator Challenge
As the owner of Dartford-based company PLP Fire Protection, Rob Beeching is in the business of fire. But it was a very different kind of elemental force that was driving and motivating his staff when they took up ellenor’s Accumulator Challenge last year – the power of giving.
So what is the Accumulator Challenge, exactly?
The challenge was first devised and launched by ellenor in 2016, and the premise is simple. A company has the option to take £50 and grow it through whichever means they can – in just four months. Pitched initially to the corporate community, and later adapted for schools, the challenge is designed to appeal directly to the resourceful, entrepreneurial spirits of local businesses.
Rob, who became involved in the challenge through a personal connection to Jemma Kemp, our Senior Fundraising Officer, says the decision to support the charity was “a no brainer”.
While Rob’s staff pitched a few ideas – including a 24-hour video gameathon – the team opted to utilise the talents of Service Manager Karen, who specialises in creating festive baubles that feature personalised messages. With Karen’s skilled fingers making the decorations – and the rest of the PLP Fire Protection team marketing and selling them – the team raised over £250 for our charity.
It’s far from the first time PLP have got involved with fundraising, though, and they’ve previously supported national charities such as Mind and DEBRA. However, Rob is quick to stress how integral getting behind local charities is to the fabric of the community.
“We need charities such as ellenor – and the people that get involved with them and keep them going – to give every community the kind of support it needs. I couldn’t think of anything worse than a member of my family getting ill. No one wants to be in that position. But I can guarantee that if ellenor was there to help my family, I know it would help.”
Despite Rob’s personal ties to our charity, he admits he wasn’t so clued up on the nature and extent of our vital work within Gravesend and the surrounding areas. That’s why Rob believes there’s still important steps to be made when it comes to raising awareness of our charity's cause, and that businesses have a crucial role to play in facilitating this.
“I think larger companies could do more, but it’s also up to community-based small and medium-sized businesses to support charities, and to keep them going. There’s definitely scope for businesses to work with other businesses to help charities, too. The more types of these partnerships you get, the more something big can develop.”
“Businesses could be more active on social media, too, because they’re probably the hub of getting charities recognised. But I suppose that’s a collective effort – if everyone does it, it’ll probably work!”
If there’s anything that’s going to engage PLP’s fellow Dartford-based businesses, though, it’s the Accumulator Challenge. Rob notes how it’s the elements of inventiveness and original thinking the challenge demands – aspects that set its premise apart from more ‘conventional’ fundraising activities – make it such an enticing proposition.
"We are delighted to be sponsoring ellenor. I think I just love the concept of it”, he chuckles. “Some fundraising these days is just that, isn’t it? The Accumulator Challenge, however, offers an element of healthy competition, and there are different awards available - Gold, Silver, and Bronze, as well as gongs for ‘Community Engagement’, ‘Innovation’, and ‘Outstanding Achievement.
“That’s the kind of stuff that spurs people on sometimes – and it also gives companies a great bit of PR!”
While Rob does acknowledge the difficulties the winter COVID-19 lockdown created for PLP’s 2020 Accumulator Challenge efforts, the team are raring to go again this year. Rob is already mooting a few ways in which he can utilise his long-standing relationship with Dartford Football Club to raise money for – as well as a greater awareness of – our charity's plight.
“We’re definitely going to do the Accumulator Challenge this year, so it’s worth me having a chat with the football club. We thought of using the stadium for a charity football game a couple of years ago, so there’s plenty of room for opportunities there. I’d have to go in goal as usual because I can’t run anymore!”
Despite the creative, consummate efforts of his team in growing fivefold the £50 note they were presented with at the beginning of the challenge, Rob’s overwhelming sentiment is ultimately one of gratitude.
“I think we need to thank all businesses, and all people that fundraise. But I think the biggest thanks has to go to ellenor, who are inevitably the ones doing the work!”
Rob’s message to Dartford’s local businesses is equally heartfelt.
“Take note of what’s going on in your community. Go and find some personal stories of what’s going on around you, about people that are suffering. I think once you hear those kinds of stories, it makes you realise how short life is, and how much you can do to help someone. Until you’re able to see how much suffering there is out there, you can’t really understand it.
“It’s easy for any business – including ourselves – to do something for charity. But if you find out why you’re doing that thing for charity, it’s more personal, and you’ll maybe work that bit harder to try and raise some money.
“It’s a good feeling, that we can give something back.”
Our Senior Fundraising Officer Jemma Kemp says: “We have no doubt that the effect of the pandemic will have an impact on our community for many years to come. However, our vision at ellenor remains the same and this is for all families facing life-limiting illness to receive the best quality, personalised care, and support. We simply could not continue to provide this service without the support of our community, which includes many local and loyal businesses.
“After a turbulent year, we are so excited to get started with this years’ Accumulator Challenge and have already had many businesses sign up to taking part. Despite the hurdles of the last year, and that many of our participants were forced to close their doors. Our brilliant local business community showed true commitment and continued to raise an astonishing £22,000 for the 2020 challenge.
“Taking part in the initiative is a great way to boost morale and motivate and engage staff in the lead up to Christmas. Throughout the challenge we will be on hand with lots of support and encouragement and with the added addition of a celebratory awards ceremony on Friday 25 February, we are determined to make this years' challenge the biggest and best yet!”
ellenor needs to raise almost £7 million every year in funding – the majority of which comes from the generosity of the local community. So why not do your part, and join PLP Fire Protection in taking on ellenor’s Accumulator Challenge in 2021?
This year, the challenge opens on Wednesday 1st September and businesses can register now on our website or contact Jemma at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Every penny you raise will go towards helping patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families through one of the toughest times they’ll ever experience.
Plus, it’s an enjoyable, exciting way for your business to give back to your local community. You’re limited only by your own imagination!