Skipton Building Society Grassroots Giving

The Brief

Skipton Building Society launched its Grassroots Giving programme, ‘Skipton Big 160’ to celebrate its 160th anniversary as a mutual organisation – 160 donations of £500 were given away to small community and voluntary groups across the UK. Chocolate PR was brought into input into the strategy of the programme, to launch and then manage it, in its first few initial years, creating a blueprint for success that could then be handled in-house.

An intensive media relations and social media campaign was launched by Chocolate PR coinciding with Grassroots Giving to showcase the programme and encourage community groups across the UK to get involved

“What’s so important about Grassroots Giving is that Skipton is playing its part in helping all those unsung heroes in communities across the country who are doing their bit to help others. To be recognised as a caring organisation is a real honour for the Society as this trait is something which we were founded around over 160 years ago – to help communities help themselves. We really enjoyed working with Chocolate PR who are bursting with energy and always full of new creative ideas of how to extend our reach!”

Roy Prenton

Grassroots Giving Co-ordinator, Skipton Building Society

The Strategy

It was important this award was about more than just cash – it was important that it was actually truly supporting sustainability amongst local community groups. A key element of the campaign was when we commissioned a set of free resources to be an element of the programme, so groups, whether they won or not, could benefit from knowledge sharing and advice to help their group succeed. The guides covered information on how to manage volunteers, attract business sponsorship and manage governance essentials along with guides explaining the benefits of being active on social media.

We also committed to showcasing the groups, from shortlist stage, so each local community group got a full page profile on the Grassroots Giving website, thus providing them with a new marketing platform, and an intensive press campaign also supported the programme, seeing some groups in the press for their very first time.


The Results

In its first year the scheme generated overwhelming interest, with over 1,000 applications received to win the 160 pots of funding, and more than 20,000 votes cast at the shortlist stages and the programme continues to thrive today.

Grassroots Giving and Skipton Building Society has been recognised internationally, being heralded a winner over 200 other nominations for its corporate social responsibility commitment, in the International CSR Excellence Awards and Skipton was invited to have its winning paper published in The Global Guide to CSR Excellence (the leading international work of reference on corporate social responsibility best practice) so that others around the world can follow its example and learn from the Grassroots Giving programme.

A further award winning element was the addition of a new social networking site designed specifically for the Grassroots Giving community groups to help them all stay in touch and learn from each other, after this was highlighted as a desire from 2013’s applicants. The Grassroots Giving cluster on Project Dirt is an online hub, connecting all Grassroots Giving applicants enabling them to promote events, share knowledge and interact with each other.

Some of the results we are most proud of are around the impact on the groups involved. 73% of the groups involved said the campaign had helped them reach more people, 90% said the campaign will help them in the future, 75% gained more press coverage and 105 of the winning groups now have Twitter and Facebook pages.

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