Here at Hastings Direct, not only do we support various charities and good causes through our fundraising and regular contributions, but we also donate a large amount of money every year to the Pink Ribbon Foundation through our insurePink brand.
Donating £10 for every car or home insurance policy sold and £1 for every travel insurance policy sold via the website www.insurepink.co.uk, Hastings Direct has so far donated a staggering £821,000 over the last 8 years that we've been supporting the Foundation. But who are the Pink Ribbon Foundation? We caught up with trustee and founder Jonathan Prince to give us an overview.
Q. Hi Jonathan. How and when did you establish the Pink Ribbon Foundation?
A. This year the Pink Ribbon Foundation is celebrating its 15th anniversary. The charity was established with the aim of giving grants to any charity/organisation concerned with breast cancer. We are able, through the generosity of our corporate partners, clubs, groups and individual supporters, to help between 30–40 good causes every year.
Q. Have any of the charity focuses changed over the years?
A. Yes, we have moved more to be the charity supporting what we call 'front line' work. One person called us the charity that supports those charities that supports those with breast cancer. We also play a role in regards to informing as many people as we can of the risks of breast cancer and how to check themselves. We also now work in a smaller way with hospices supporting breast cancer patients.
Q. How many people do you employ and what do they do?
A. The Pink Ribbon Foundation has very little infrastructure and we call ourselves a 'virtual' charity. This means we have no salaried staff or offices which is a big cost saving, although naturally, some people do get paid for their services. And of course we are always looking for people who have a skill or business and who can donate their services and time free of charge to help us. I am Chair of the Trustees and Lisa Allen heads up our corporate fundraising, PR and events. Working in this way means that more of the money donated to the Foundation is able to be used where it is needed.
Q. How do you raise money?
A. Individuals, groups and clubs support us by donating what they can, either as a one-off donation or as a regular standing order. Many also organise charity events and donate the proceeds to us. As a business we can help you set up a fundraising initiative. More and more companies in the UK are supporting our crucial campaign, including Schwarzkopf Professional, Champneys, NCP, many smaller brands and of course Hastings Direct. With finances getting tighter and charities struggling to cope with demand, there is always a huge pressure on the Foundation's resources. Quite simply, the Pink Ribbon Foundation want to support as many individuals and charities as possible. We can only continue to do this with the help of individuals, groups, clubs and companies.
Q. How many charities do you help, and do you give the same amount to each good cause?
A. Every year the Foundation invites charities and organisations in the UK to apply for a grant, in order to help them continue their vital work or to fund one-off projects. Some of the many charities who have benefitted from a grant from the Foundation are: Bosom Buddies, Macmillan Cancer Support, The Haven, Farleigh Hospice, The Primrose Centre, Cancer Research and the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity. I think in total over 110 charities have received grants from us.
For many of the smaller charities, a grant from the Pink Ribbon Foundation can make a huge difference. It can provide a highly skilled programme of care, complimentary therapies, counselling for patients and their families, extra nurses to care for breast cancer patients and vital research into this terrible disease. The amounts granted vary according to the charity and how they intend to use the funds. For many, a few thousand pounds can make a huge difference. Charities can apply every year to the Foundation for a grant, however they may not always be successful. It depends on the application, the grant criteria and the Foundation's own resources.
Q. How are Hastings Direct involved?
A. Nine years ago Hastings Direct created insurePink travel insurance. The idea for this came from the need for cheaper travel insurance for people who had undergone treatment for breast cancer. The Pink Ribbon Foundation helped to align the brand with the charity and £1 was donated to the Foundation for each policy sold. Due to the success of this, home and car insurance shortly followed under the insurePink brand, with £10 being donated to the charity from each policy sold. To date, Hastings Direct and its customers have raised over £821,000 and we are working hard now to reach the magic million!
Q. Do you work with any celebrities to raise the profile of the charity?
A. The Foundation works with many high profile celebrities. We count Joan Collins, Jeff Banks and Patsy Palmer as Patrons. We also have 'working' ambassadors for our charity, who will undertake a few support initiatives throughout the year, as and when required (e.g. attending fundraising events or photo calls in our charity t-shirts, supplying quotes or writing messages). Many of our celebrities are very influential on social media and their support with retweets and posts can have a huge impact on our reach and awareness. On World Cancer Day we were able to reach one million people on Twitter with a single message via this support through retweets.
Q. Tell us a fun fact about the charity that others may not know
A. The pink bow that we use as our charity logo was actually designed 15 years ago by Lisa Allen, our Head of Corporate Partnerships, using a pink nail varnish. It's the brush that gives the effect of the bow trailing off at the end.