Adopting a charity of the year is great for companies too – says inspirational Derby business leader

Businesses in the local area have been urged to consider adopting a charity of the year because it’s as great for their bottom line as for the good cause they support.

Nikki Kinsey, group director at Sellick Partnership recruitment firm on Pride Park, who has many times been named on the Derby Telegraph’s ‘inspirational 250’ list, said businesses should strongly consider adopting a charity of the year to help fulfil their corporate social responsibilities (CSR).

She said: “CSR has become critically important for businesses in the contemporary world, with companies who do not place value on this side of corporate life risking being left behind, for example, by employees for whom volunteering, reducing environmental impact and giving back are increasingly important. Another factor is the importance of CSR to public sector organisations, with tangible social value now accounting for 10 per cent of the weighting when propositions are evaluated.”

Sellick Partnership has adopted the memory-making small Derbyshire charity me&dee for the past eight years, and Nikki said the relationship was nothing but rewarding for everyone involved.

She said: “I got involved with me&dee when I was a judge for the Derbyshire Live awards. Sellick Partnership was looking for a local charity to support. Since then I’ve been an ambassador for the charity and then I became a trustee – in fact, I’m the longest-standing one!

“At Sellick Partnership I’m the director responsible for tenders and bids, and a big part of that work is about your CSR policy, or how you give back. This is no longer merely a box-ticking exercise for companies. It’s about the added value that you can demonstrate. Having a charity that we support is important for us as a business as it demonstrates that responsibility. It’s very helpful when you’re applying for awards, for example. And consumers are also very interested in the company’s CSR. There has been compelling research proving that a huge proportion of customers would prefer to buy from companies committed to making the world a better place.

“I give me&dee my time as a trustee. Every year we have a football tournament for them, which has become quite well known. My wonderful team also get involved by running the Derby 10k for them – and we do lots, lots more.”

Nikki said that one of the benefits of adopting a charity like me&dee was the fact that businesses of all sizes could become a sponsor and reap the rewards in terms of corporate social responsibility, networking and the feel-good factor. She said her husband, who works solo as a gas engineer and plumber, is a me&dee silver sponsor with an investment of £20 a month.

“me&dee support and thank him, with the same level of gratitude as they do with Sellick Partnership,” she said. “Every little truly helps!”

The me&dee charity, based in Melbourne, was founded by Maria Hanson MBE to allow families facing an uncertain future due to serious illness to make memories. Applications to me&dee have risen hugely over the past year from families who want support when one of their number – often children – has been diagnosed with a potentially life-shortening condition. Many people whose families are helped by me&dee are living with extremely rare conditions and turn to charity as they cannot find support through any other organisation.

The charity has a lodge where families can stay to relax away from hospital appointments, and it also has many other partnerships with local attractions so that people who may not have much more time together can still enjoy a peaceful break closer to home.

Maria said one of the things that would be particularly appreciated was for businesses to invest in ‘Hope’ – a cuddly elephant keepsake that has a voice recorder in its ear, for parents to hold on to and hear the recorded voice of a loved one after they are gone.

She said the elephant toy was always an emotional best-seller and much needed by families to have some comfort after the worst had happened.

“Our sponsors are our memory makers – and that’s why on social media we call them #memorymakers,” explained Maria. “I always like thinking of things in detail: Hope has its name because an elephant never forgets. We never forget our loved ones even though they have left this world, and I’m passionate that my charity should help people have as many happy memories as sad ones.

“I want to get the message out there that anyone can help us – a small business can give just £2 a week and that would make a big difference in somebody’s life. And it helps businesses too – nearly every award has got a CSR box to tick.

“Because me&dee is a small charity, you know that your money is going to those who need it. I’m a full-time CEO and I don’t take a salary. So thank you to all the businesses who have helped by giving Hope – I’d love some more to join us.”

Bev Wakefield, the owner of award-winning Derby-based Vibrant Accountancy, said working with charities brought an added benefit to businesses in tax relief.

Businesses can get a corporation tax deduction for charitable donations – provided they make enough taxable profits, and ‘giving’ also includes gifting stock and previously used the kit as well as employees for volunteering or seconding.

Giving to charity is also possible through personal contributions or gifting in a Will.

Nikki added: “With me&dee Maria wanted to create a charity that wasn’t just a tick box exercise. That’s something she has done so well. You just feel such love from them. They do so much for their sponsors – it’s a real partnership. If they can talk about our business or share our news on social media, they will. It is about having that network too. The support and gratitude from me&dee to us are fabulous – they will shout about your business.

“And the work they do is phenomenal. When you’re involved, you can’t believe that these families who use me&dee’s services are going through what they are going through. When you’ve got a charity like me &dee and someone like Maria with the biggest heart, seeing her and watching her first hand with those children is amazing. She makes sure nobody gets left out in that family. It’s inspirational.”

To find out more about how you can sponsor me&dee, see

For more information, please contact Lucy Stephens at Penguin PR at 0771 983 9446 or

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