This month Graham Miller of Media Vu has an inspiring, heartwarming tale to tell about a pandemic success story in the charities sector. In an interview supported by networking group, Collaborate MK, Graham talks to Charlotte Moyle, founder of MK Charities and Collaborate MK founder, Tim Lee.
Charlotte, let’s start from the beginning. Where did the idea of MK Charities spring from?
As with so many people, soon after the start of the pandemic, I was made redundant. It was time to take the bull by the horns and do something that had always been at the back of my mind – something that involves ‘giving back’- in other words, finding a way to support Milton Keynes charities.
My first task was to find out more about them – to explore their stories. I soon realised that the best way for me to help them was to raise awareness of each one and to support them in a collective way – as a group.
Step two was to design a website that would showcase the local charities and not-for-profit organisations with the aim of inspiring people to give these charities a little of their time.
But we do much more than list the charities on our website. We build authentic relationships and give every charity some consultation time to discover how we can best support them.
We do this initially through classic social media ‘leverage’ – sharing and commenting on their posts, advising them as to what they should be showcasing and how to go about doing it. But we soon realised there’s so much more we can do. We do plenty of networking and find we’re able to connect dozens of local businesses with charities. Imagine the benefit for each party of this kind of arrangement.
So do you remember the first charity you hooked up with?
Sure – we now have over 65 charities on board. But it all started with Al’s Pals, a charity set up to support Cancer Patients in Milton Keynes – providing a buddy system. They were soon followed by Curly Tails – a pig sanctuary. Our relationship with these two charities typifies the joy of doing this kind of work. We’ve been able to really connect with the wonderful people who work at the two charities. They’ve become good friends.
Tim, tell us about the connection between MK Charities and Collaborate MK
When I set up Collaborate MK last year, I was keen to set aside space for charities – so, Charlotte’s MK Charities gave us the perfect solution – a stable of charities all under one umbrella, connecting our members with appropriate charities.
Charlotte, charities have been badly hit during the pandemic. How tough has it been to get people to donate?
Simply by having conversations with the businesses. Although many have struggled in recent months, there’s still an admirable underswell of goodwill and a desire to help. We anticipate this will grow once the pandemic has passed, and we can all start meeting up and connecting in person.
How should people get in touch if they want to become involved?
How do you both see your future relationship?
Tim: In my previous business ‘lives’, I’ve always been focused on business. The pandemic, along with the amazing work that Charlotte does, has certainly opened my eyes to the enormous benefits to all parties of connecting with the local community. People in Milton Keynes have a remarkable desire to support their communities.
Charlotte: We’re so excited about the future. Just look at what Collaborate MK and MK Charities have achieved by working together over just a few short months. Imagine what we’ll achieve in the future! All the signs are that we’ll continue to grow in the future. We’re going to see more connection, more partnerships and more good news stories from the charity community.