Read this article to find out how to practice good CSR and the importance and impact of working with local charities with LoveBrum’s PJ Ellis
said our most recent ‘0121’ podcast guest in a Linkedin post celebrating LoveBrum’s sixth Birthday.
LoveBrum is a charity that supports local people and businesses in order to build an even better Birmingham. They aim to support over 36 projects per year; each project is often volunteer-led. Every penny raised from individual memberships and fundraising stays in Birmingham and goes straight to the chosen causes.
Co-founder of LoveBrum, PJ Ellis, overflows with enthusiasm about Birmingham. Lee & Adam, the co-founders of Electric House, interviewed PJ for an episode of the 0121 podcast. The series tells the stories of the most exciting and influential Midlands-based entrepreneurs. We ask difficult questions about what we can be doing to support the city and its young creators.
Dubbed “a busy bee” by Lee during the episode, PJ also directs digital marketing group Lightbox, which emphasises a strong practice of CSR. Read this article to find out how to practice good CSR and the importance and impact of working with local charities.
In the podcast episode, PJ emphasized the importance of personal connection and motivation for good CSR practice. PJ’s passion for charity began with eight-year-old brain tumour patient Harry Moseley, who founded the charity, ‘Help Harry Help Others’, a cancer support centre for families in Birmingham.
“I came across Harry’s videos on Twitter; he was making and selling bracelets. Celebrities were wearing them; David Beckham wore one! I was obsessed with watching his journey. His condition was terminal and I knew he was going to pass away.”
So, PJ reached out to Harry’s mother, saying that he would love to help Harry’s cause. As a practising solicitor, PJ was envisioning a charity golf day to raise a few quid. When PJ reached out to Tim Andrews on Facebook asking for support, the future co-founders of LoveBrum arranged a black-tie event that raised £100k for Harry’s cause, and that exhausted PJ even nine years later (he says).
Values and vision are key components of any practice. When asked about LoveBrum’s vision, PJ said:
“LoveBrum’s values are constantly changing, slightly. We do get a lot of pressure – if that’s the right word – about it becoming more political: a forum for a bigger voice for Birmingham.
It has to be political to a point; we have to reach out to different cultures and regions, and everyone has a different agenda. But at the end of the day, LoveBrum is a movement for an even better Birmingham.”
Supporting local projects and people not only serves as good charitable CSR practice, but it also serves as motivation for your team to engage in CSR.
“We want to encourage Birmingham to do business with Birmingham. LoveBrum created a community for more effective CSR, and we work with them to make sure their CSR obligations are delivered, and that they’re delivered locally.”
PJ explains that it’s not selfish to deliver CSR locally, rather it deepens the engagement between your team and their community.
“Birmingham needs to move away from supporting massive charities based elsewhere, but to better support more local smaller charities.”
CSR activities are seen by many to be a mere component of corporate public relations, but for PJ Ellis and LoveBrum, it’s a passion. Good CSR can be practiced in three simple steps: by motivating your team members, following a clear vision, and conducting activities locally. PJ Ellis summarises:
“When I was a lawyer, I only found out I had CSR days in my contracts that I could use to paint a fence after I had left. If a business is going to have CSR opportunities in their documents, they should be telling their employees how to use them and helping them to reach out. Give each employee an opportunity to pick their CSR agenda, and keep it local.”
All quotes from PJ Ellis have been paraphrased and edited from the 5th episode of the 0121 Podcast.