International consultancy company Columbus has taken an ERP implementation approach to raising over £21,000 for two charities this year, marking its most successful year of fundraising to date.
The company, which works with manufacturers and distributors throughout the UK, set an ambitious target to raise more than £20,000 for charity this year and exceeded this, raising a total of over £21,405.
The key to Columbus’ success was an approach similar to that it takes with every ERP implementation – planning, people and best practice.
Mary Hunter, Managing Director of Columbus explained: “When I set the fundraising target for Columbus I took the same approach that companies should be using for an ERP implementation. The first and probably the most important step was the original planning process, where I set specific dates and outlined where we wanted to be at certain points of the year against which activities. After that we looked at who was going to be involved to help it become a success and then analysed any potential issues that might prevent us from reaching our fundraising goal before applying best practice fundraising experiences to maximise our chances of delivering. The key to successful ERP implementation is a thorough planning process, the right people and expertise and a flexible approach as circumstances can change, and the same applies to fundraising.”
The ambitious fundraising target was established earlier this year after Mary Hunter attended a leadership programme set up by Ben Hunt-Davis, the GB rower who won gold at the 2000 summer Olympics in Sydney. The programme, called ‘Will It Make the Boat Go Faster?’ encouraged participants to set challenging goals for themselves. Mary Hunter’s aim was to exceed £20,000 and to do this the plan included a joint partner’s dinner with Columbus customers and suppliers.
The two causes that Columbus has fundraised for this year are Tommy’s, a charity that raises money for medical research into the causes of premature birth, stillbirth and miscarriage and the Maddison Bignall Trust, set up in honour of one of the Columbus employees’ niece who died of a brain tumour in 2007. This year the trust is raising money for Alfie, a six-year-old boy who since birth has been allergic to protein, which has damaged his muscle and brain function. The money will go towards Eye Gaze software which will enable Alfie to communicate and interact with the world around him.
Similarly to a successful ERP implementation, it was the people involved who helped Columbus’ charity aims become achievable. A host of employees, customers and suppliers helped raise money at a Columbus organised charity ball on November 23 which raised over £14,500, whilst a partner charity dinner, held two days later, brought in £6,665. A lottery bonus ball syndicate by the employees earlier in the year has added £129 to the total and a secret Santa more recently has seen further donations too.
Mary Hunter added: “What we’ve managed to achieve this year has been truly fantastic. The support of my team, customers and suppliers to achieve a record breaking charity initiative, is testament to what can be done when you really focus on delivering a ‘crazy goal’. Knowing that this money will make a difference to help save so many babies lives and that this Christmas Alfie in particular will be able to communicate in a more effective way with his family makes all the hard work much more worthwhile! I’m so proud that together with the support of my team and our partners we have delivered such an incredible result.
“Our success is testament to the approach we took; an approach that we also adopt when it comes to implementing ERP for our customers. With the right planning, people and best practice experience applied, our goals and objectives can be achieved.
Columbus is an international consultancy serving customers worldwide. We are experts in developing and providing business applications to the retail, food and manufacturing industries. We’ve proved this through 20 years of experience with more than 6,000 successful business cases. Columbus has offices and partners all around the world. For more information please contact Mary Hunter (UK) on +44 (0)1623 72 99 77 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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