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Four estate agents who are leading the way in CSR

Four estate agents who are leading the way in CSR

CSR has become one of the standard business practices of our time. Consumers now demand that companies start playing an active role in addressing social, cultural and environmental issues. For brands and companies who have embraced CSR, it has given them the opportunity to boost their brands reputation but also a chance to attract talent and retain staff.

Whether it’s where we decide to raise a family or a house which has been in the family for generations, homes will always have an emotional spot in our hearts. That’s why we’ve decided to look at the estate agents who are making it their responsibility to look after the communities and environments in the areas they operate in.


Whilst making it their mission to enable local communities to reach their full potential, they are also proud to support Veterans Aid. A charity which makes sure veterans in crisis receive vital care. Foxtons staff have also made it their duty that customers old and new, know about the app ‘Gone for Good’ which helps people donate their unwanted goods to local charities.

Foxtons have also looked to improve their environmental impact by ensuring all office lighting is low energy and that they are only in use during office hours. Foxtons support the charity WaterAid by supplying their offices with bottled Belu water. Belu water is made with environmentally friendly packaging who also donate 100% of their profits back to WaterAid.

Hamptons International

Supporting and raising vital funds for Cancer Research UK since 2013, Hamptons International has cycled, ran, and baked their way to raising over £200,000. Whilst partnering with the charity, Hamptons International have set up multiple donation stations across the UK. Transforming the items, you no longer need into funds for life-saving research, with 100% of the money going to Cancer Research UK.

One fundraising event ‘Relay Around the Regions’ which was a company-wide fundraiser, where 300 individuals from around the business travelled between their 85 branches using various modes of transport whilst passing on the baton. The campaign coincided with ‘Stand Up To Cancer’ and over 11 days, over £12,000 was raised for the charity.


From consultants in training to experienced Directors, Dexters spend 10 times the industry average on training their people to ensure that they are up to date with the latest legislation. They actively encourage professional development for their staff to stand them in better stead later in life.

Dexters can also boast an overall gender breakdown of 50/50, and that 57% of manager and above roles in support are held by females. They have set themselves the target of by 2021 that over 50% of their manager and above fee earning roles are held by women.

Whilst expanding at a rapid rate through London, they are committed to finding new ways to reduce their carbon footprint, primarily through going paperless as much as possible.

Perry Bishop and Chambers

Perry Bishop and Chambers takes CSR seriously, so seriously in fact that they only employ staff who live near the towns in which their offices are located, their local knowledge being a special touch for vendors and buyers. The estate agents also look to engage local suppliers and refer business to other locally based companies. Continuously sponsoring events, sport clubs and schools throughout the year in the local community. Whilst also donating a certain percentage from every sold house to local charities.

If you would like to talk about how PR could maximise your business or how you could share your CSR story please get in touch with a member of our award-winning team today.

Mental Health Awareness Week

It won’t have escaped your notice that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week. It seems to us that this year more than ever before, corporates and charities alike are working hard to raise awareness of good mental health. Here’s our run-down of some of the best campaigns to engage with this MHAW:

The Mental Health Foundation is focusing the week on stress and has released statistics looking at stress in the workplace. It found that millennials felt more under pressure at work than baby boomers do – stating that working through stress was expected in their job. You can show your support for good mental health for all by ordering and wearing a green ribbon from the Mental Health Foundation.

Charity Mind has also chosen to focus on stress in the workplace. It encourages employers to create a stress awareness space, where staff can share their thoughts and feelings when they are feeling stressed through simple ‘when I’m stressed…’ cards. Luckily for us media folk, NABS is there to support anyone feeling stressed at work with a confidential helpline and events designed to help you boost your own personal mental health toolbox.

Rethink Mental Illness is well known for their hard-hitting campaigns. This MHAW, the charity is focusing on converting awareness into action and has given seven simple ways you can get involved to push for reform, fight stigma and campaign for change in the mental health space.

It’s not just charities getting in on the act. PHA client Xercise4Less has opened its doors for anyone to come and train for free throughout MHAW. The gym chain is aiming to raise awareness of mental health issues and promote exercise as a great way for improving mental health and decreasing stress.

Also, on the corporate charge, the Bauer Media group has launched a petition calling on the government to make it a requirement for every workplace or college to have a mental health work aider in the UK. The publisher’s research found that 90% of the public say they still feel there is a taboo around discussing mental health and 86% agree mental health is one of the biggest challenges facing the country today.

Finally – if you’d like to show your support for good mental health beyond this week, PHA Client anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label has recently launched Karma bands – simple accessories with lovely stress-busting slogans including ‘Breath’, ‘Fearless’ and ‘Ride the Wave’.

If you’re interested in learning more about how PR can help your charity stand out, get in touch with us today.

The charities to watch at the Virgin London Marathon

26.2 miles. The ultimate endurance event. There may be marathons all around the world, but The Virgin London Marathon is an event which inspires people across the globe to enter.

The Virgin London Marathon is a critical date in the calendar for charities. Whatever the cause might be, most of the runners who cross the start line come Sunday morning will be running for a cause or loved one.

We’d love to shout out all the amazing causes that are supported on the day but we thought we’d highlight ten who were particularly close to our hearts at PHA.

Dedicated to providing free cleft surgery and comprehensive care to children in need. Smile Train continues to campaign to give children new smiles, new beginnings and the opportunity for cleft children to live full and productive lives.

Most people in the UK have had cancer affect their lives in one way or another. Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading charity dedicated to research on the causes, treatment and prevention of cancer.

Rainbow Trust provides bespoke support for families who have a child with a serious illness. Offering the whole family support, regardless of diagnosis and are there for as long as a family needs them. Currently supporting almost 2,500 families in the UK, with more donations they support more families who desperately need it.

The MS Society is the UK’s leading multiple sclerosis charity, with the money raised from fundraising events such as Virgin London Marathon they can continue to invest in cutting-edge research and provide support to those affected by the condition.

Crohn’s & Colitis UK fight to achieve a better quality of life for over 300,000people in the UK suffering physically and emotionally from the disease alongside other forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

A charity dedicated completely to animals. Battersea aims to never turn away a dog or cat in need of help. Funds raised from charity events can help them to continue caring for them until loving new homes can be found, no matter how long it might take.

With around 700,000 people in the UK on the autism spectrum, together with their families, they make up around 2.8 million people whose lives are touched by autism daily. The NAS help to raise awareness and make the world a friendlier place for someone with autism.

The mental health charity making a difference. They make sure that no one has to face a mental health problem alone. They promise to not give up until everyone suffering a mental health problem gets the right support.

Continuing to lead the fight against the child abuse in the UK. The NSPCC help children who’ve been abused to rebuild their lives, they protect children at risk and find the best ways to prevent child abuse from ever happening in the first place.

The leading dementia charity in the UK, who provide information and support, improve care, fund research, and create lasting change for people affected by dementia.


Good luck to all the runners for this year’s marathon we’ll be cheering you on!

The best charity campaigns of 2017

2017 has been a year of challenges, transformation and triumphs for the charity sector. Well established not-for-profit organisations have had to compete with individual campaigners and corporates alike to get their message heard – and some of the results have been stunning. Here’s a quick look back at the campaigns that have had the PHA team talking this year.

 Storytelling with new technology – Tombohuaun Untapped, WaterAid

Photo by Madi Robson on Unsplash

A recent entry but one that I can’t stop thinking about. WaterAid has managed to create a connection between this PR in Soho and villagers in Tombohuauan, Sierra Leone – a village in desperate need of clean water and one at the heart of WaterAid’s Untapped appeal.

Anyone with an interest can explore Tombohuaun via a fact-filled 360 view of the village and waterhole and you can also interact with a chatbot which allows you to ‘speak’ to villager Sellu through Facebook messenger. But this is no guilt-trip – it’s informative and compelling personal storytelling. A quiz that allows you to be given your own village visitor nickname delivered via video by Matu delivers a deeper connection. It all helps supporters to feel at the centre of the storytelling and connect them to the campaign for clean water for all.

WaterAid’s Untapped Appeal will be doubled by the UK government until 31 January.

Crowdsourcing for creativity – The C-Word (I hate you c*****)

Isabella Lyttle’s family are raising funds for this brave 10-year-old who is battling cancer, so that she can access a clinical trial abroad to help her beat neuroblastoma.

The creative for Isabella’s fundraiser came about after her godmother posted on creative crowdsourcing site One Minute Briefs. The result is a video that at first shocks, with Isabella repeatedly saying the bleeped-out ‘c-word’, but it compels the viewer to watch to the end – driving home the importance of her plea. The video soon went viral and achieved widespread media interest:

Isabella and her family are also supported by Solving Kids Cancer, so supporters can donate via the charity’s text to donate line or fundraising team, or through JustGiving. To date, the family has raised just over £27,000.


Battling taboos – Know your lemons, Worldwide Breast Cancer  

Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash

If you cast your mind back to January, you’re bound to recall the social media storm that gave a much-celebrated spotlight to designer and charity founder Corrine Beaumont’s campaign to #KnowYourLemons.

Corrine’s image of 12 lemons in an egg box, each depicting different possible breast cancer symptoms in a simple way spoke a universal truth – women all around the world need to know more about spotting the signs. The image has now been seen on social media by 200 million people in 2017.


Dominating an anniversary – SSAFA Women 100

We had a great debate about whether a campaign we personally worked on should make this list – but we couldn’t post this blog without the inclusion of SSAFA’s Women 100.

July this year marked the centenary of the formation of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). We all know that any major anniversary will attract attention from multiple charities with something to celebrate, but SSAFA’s Women 100 campaign managed to dominate the media space through visual storytelling at its best. Our team worked with SSAFA and renowned war photographer Robert Wilson to create an iconic image which showcased the evolution of women in service over the last century. The stunning image celebrated serving women and veterans with a huge range of roles from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Airforce, including Olympic gold medalists Dame Kelly Holmes and Heather Stanning OBE.


Corporate powered campaign – Sky Ocean Rescue

Photo by Paul Morris on Unsplash

Sky set up this campaign to save the ocean from plastic long before we were all tearing up at Blue Planet II. Using its global reach to tackle a global issue, Sky regularly covers associated stories on its news channels, reports successes (such as Coco-Cola dropping opposition Deposit Return Schemes in Scotland), has made its own documentary and provides advice for consumers on how to reduce their own personal plastic use.

Never before has this topic needed the limelight more. As Sky tells us – ‘Every minute, the equivalent of a rubbish truckload of plastic goes in to our oceans, it never decomposes and will remain there forever.’


Charity PR: Stop the sensationalism!

All businesses are acutely aware of the need to cut through the noise when it comes to making their brand, product or service visible to their target market. A great communications strategy is, of course, integral to this. You might have the best idea in the world but without the right communication techniques, no one will buy into it.

Perhaps nobody feels this challenge more than charities and campaigning organisations. With what is often a constant struggle for funding, raising brand awareness and generating revenue through fundraising are on-going concerns, even for established organisations.

The charity market is as crowded as any other and smaller, lesser-known charities must compete with ‘megabrands’ like Amnesty International and Oxfam for donors and supporters. The recent collapse of the much-celebrated charity BeatBullying is indicative of these challenges.

Beyond this though, these organisations often deal with highly sensitive and complex issues. Nuanced policy positions must be transformed into simple, attention-grabbing calls to action and with a 24-hour news hour cycle that overloads us with content from all corners of the globe, grabbing our attention – at least for more than a few seconds – is now harder than ever.

When Band Aid released their first single in 1984, people were shocked by what they saw on their television screens and donations poured in. But what to do when we’re no longer shocked and the donations dry up?

Well, there’s always a temptation to revert to ever more shocking images, messaging and stereotypes that urge us out of our armchairs and towards a direct debit and, sadly, this is still a path some charities feel obliged to go down.

As a campaigner for women’s rights, it especially frustrates me to see adverts on the tube that serve only to further victimise women and girls to evoke feelings of sympathy and pity rather than empowerment.

As Regina Yau, Founder of the Pixel Project says, “We owe it to those we serve to avoid sensationalising their pain…we need to ask ourselves: Are we fighting for brand recognition or are we fighting for real change?”

My aim here is not to name and shame these organisations. I think we should acknowledge the real difficulties they face when, in reality, brand recognition is very much intertwined with their objective of creating change. As I said, it’s hard for charities to raise much-needed funds when their campaign has no visibility.

However, it’s also important to ask ourselves how we can do this without relying on sensationalism. As communications professionals, we are all responsible for the information we present to the public and we have to think about the impact we have.

The good news is that we can be creative, innovative and forward-thinking and move away from these old stereotypes – there are loads of amazing charities out there doing just this. One of these is KickStart Ghana, an NGO that aims to enhance the sporting and educational opportunities available to the people of Ghana. Their Co-Founder, Dave Coles, recognises the importance of challenging stereotypes in order to address the root of the problem and not just providing a sticking plaster – you won’t find a negative image in sight in their marketing materials.

What’s more, Nesta now awards funding from their Innovation in Giving Fund to forward-thinking charities that challenge traditional models of fundraising and engagement.

So yes, short-term shock tactics might boost a fundraising target but will they attract long-term supporters and drive real change in the future? The answer must be no.