Covid-19 instantly resulted in change for every business with many needing to reduce costs, furlough or layoff staffand impacting on the company’s charitable partnerships. 

The traditional ‘Charity of the Year’ partnership that many corporate businesses take part in has taken a different dimension due to the coronavirus pandemic. Traditional workplace fundraisers like coffee mornings and walks couldn’t take place but Air Ambulance NI explains how they have worked with many of their partners to adapt and extend support into 2021.  

Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising with Air Ambulance NI said, “When lockdown and social distancing restrictions limited our corporate partners ability to deliver planned fundraising activities, we developed new digital fundraising methods and activities. We encouraged our partners to sign up to be a charity Club AANI member through payroll giving for as little as £8 per month, it’s an easy and tax efficient way of supporting our service.  We also developed online campaigns including the ‘Go Off to Lift Off’ campaign and the ‘Virtual Three Peaks Challenge’.  We encouraged and assisted our corporates to access online activities like quizzes, providing an Air Ambulance round of course!  We are also offering personalised webinars to fit in with the strategic goals of the company, motivate employees and develop the relationship beyond fundraising alone.” 

Firmus Energy, Kingspan Energy Energy & Water and AG are three businesses that began supporting the Air Ambulance Northern Ireland Charity initially for one year in 2020 and all decided to continue their support into a second year. 

Catriona McErlean, Head of Marketing with Kingspan Energy & Water said, “Relationships are key and the charity has kept connected with us. Our fundraising was impacted initially but we have adapted with socially distanced and virtual events.  Now more than ever our company wants to make a difference and keep our teams motivated.  We know that throughout 2020, Air Ambulance NI experienced a rise of almost 20% in taskings compared to 2019. Road traffic collisions remained the most common type of incident the team attended to, that could be any of our employees or loved ones.  It feels good to play our part.  

Kerry Anderson said, “Excellent partnerships will survive even in Covid times and we are determined to build long term quality partnerships that are mutually beneficial for both company and charity.  It’s not always about fundraising – utilising corporates’ capacity and competency, distribution network, technological knowhow, and digitalisation, often lay the foundations for mutually beneficial partnerships.  For example, we have established a voluntary agribusiness committee focusing on both awareness and income generation as well as partnering with industry for gifts in kind including hand sanitising stations from Hutchinson Engineering and support from McKinstry Skip Hire. 

We hope that at some stage this year, many of our fundraising events will take place with little or no restrictions and sincerely appreciate the support of all of our corporate partners– it really enables our medical team to offer the best chance of saving lives every day.” 

The HEMS services is provided by way of a partnership between the charity and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.  It attends patients who are seriously ill or injured, bringing emergency pre-hospital care direct to the casualty with the aim of saving lives, brains and limbs. The service operates 365 days of the year and is needed on average twice per day with £2million needed annually in fundraising to maintain and sustain thservice.  

The charity is offering corporate webinars to learn more about the service and its corporate partnerships, available by contacting 028 9262 2677. 

Share this post