Working with Great Causes
I believe business is a powerful force in society – and in particular it has the power to create wealth, create jobs and create innovations and products that make a significant difference to people’s lives. As an entrepreneur, I believe in using business success as something that can help give something back to the communities in which we live in. I have a real passion for working with charitable causes. It’s not just about making donations – it’s about getting your hands dirty, doing something real to help others. Since founding Masternaut in 2002, we’ve made it our mission to do as much good as possible – encouraging all employees to raise money for charity, and giving them time to get involved with the causes they believe in.
Here are some examples of the great things we’ve been involved in for charity:
Supporting a Safer Journey for breast cancer
I’m proud to be supporting Sonya Greer, one of the Customer Service representatives at Masternaut who is recovering from breast cancer. She has put all her energy into fundraising for The Haven, a charity that is committed to improving the lives of people affected by breast cancer.
Sonya was diagnosed with breast cancer over two years ago and with the support of The Haven has managed to fight the illness, Sonya is a shining example of someone who refused to be beaten. Sonya was indebted to The Haven for the support and care she received from the charity and approached me with a very bold fundraising idea – to create a glamorous notebook called “Supporting a Safer Journey” that we could promote and raise money for such a wonderful cause. We really wanted to support Sonya as we thought it was an inspirational idea.
We’ve created a tasteful yet bold notebook which is being sold to raise money for the haven. The cost is just £10 plus £2.50 for P&P. You can buy your notebook at www.masternaut.co.uk/thehaven
Aside from raising money for the charity, the PR buzz created around our employees ‘going naked for charity’ has helped to raise awareness of the wonderful work that The Haven does.
Cash for Quitters
In 2008 I launched a very unusual scheme at Masternaut – cash for quitters. It came about because tragically, a close friend of mine had cancer – and I remember visiting him at the hospital. There were so many people there who had lung cancer and most of them had smoked heavily during their lives. This got me thinking – what can I do to help people give up smoking, hopefully improving their health and reducing their risk of lung cancer in later life.
This brainwave turned into ‘Cash for Quitters’. I offered all the smokers at Masternaut a cash bonus for quitting for at least six months. If they successfully rose to the challenge they would receive a cheque for £2500, to be shared equally between themselves and Cancer Research UK. During the six months, they would receive regular counselling and would also be checked using a special breathalyser, to make sure they weren’t cheating.
In total nine people joined the scheme – which caught the attention of the local and national media. People were blown away that I was actually paying my own employees to quit smoking. The story was covered by local press and radio, BBC and ITV news and Radio 1 Newsbeat. At the end of the six months, we proudly handed over a cheque for £11,250 to Cancer Research UK, to support their essential research. In addition, the publicity around our ‘Cash for Quitters’ campaign hopefully inspired other organisations to help their employees kick the habit.
Find out more about Cash for Quitters by clicking here.
Drive for Life
In 2009 we launched Drive for Life, the world’s largest safe driving competition. It brought together over 60,000 drivers from across the UK who drive for companies that use Masternaut’s vehicle tracking solution. The aim of the competition was to raise awareness of driver safety.
The scheme was run in conjunction with BRAKE, the UK’s road safety charity. Drivers were assessed after 6 months using tracking data from the Masternaut system. They then completed an online assessment and were finally judged by a panel including Dr Keith Hellawell, former Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police and Chairman of Sports Direct. The winning driver received a £1250 cash prize, with a further £1250 going to BRAKE.
Drive for Life has helped to raise awareness of the need for safer driving, especially for commercial drivers who are at the most risk of having an accident.
Sport Relief – Tracking the Million Pound Bike Ride
One of the highlights of 2010 was working with Sport Relief as the official GPS tracking provider for their Million Pound celebrity bike ride. The riders wore our tracking devices allowing the nation to track the event live as it happened. The riders included David Walliams, Fearne Cotton, Davina McCall and Jimmy Carr who took turns to cycle 1000 miles from John O’Groats to Lands End in just four days. In total they raised a whopping £1.3m.
Our live tracking added a real edge to the event and we had millions of hits on the live tracking page. Radio One’s Chris Moyles regularly mentioned the live tracking each morning and encouraged listeners to look out their window to watch the riders as they whizzed on by! We also tracked Laurence Dallaglio and his team as they cycled across Europe to all the Six Nations Rugby stadiums. He was raising money for Sport Relief and also for the Dallaglio Foundation.