Industry view: Helping has its own rewards

Debbie Thomson, chief executive of CLAN Cancer Support

The city of Aberdeen is home to hundreds of third-sector organisations and charities all striving to provide comfort, help and support for a wide range of issues. Each of these organisations has a vital role to play in ensuring that people in the north-east have access to facilities and support that will make a difference during difficult times.  

Healthy competition is present, but not between organisations as you would expect. I believe each individual charity strives to be the best they can be and this, in turn, has an incredibly positive impact on the level of care and support there is available, for free, within Aberdeen.

It’s this desire to provide help and support to as many people as possible that drives a number of organisations’ operations. The reward to this comes when a client expresses their gratitude at how you have helped them in their moment of need. Knowing that your organisation is making a difference is extremely satisfying and completely emphasises just why the charity is there in the first place.

Public recognition can also be extremely rewarding and can bring a number of benefits to an individual charity. At Clan, we have been supporting people in our local community for more than 30 years. This was recently recognised at the Grampian Business Awards when we were the proud recipients of the Alick Buchanan-Smith Enterprising Communities Award.

This prestigious business award acknowledges the work and contribution Clan has made, and continues to make, to the health and wellbeing of those living with cancer in our community. It has helped reinforce Clan’s position as a trusted, respected, caring organisation and has further enhanced our reputation with existing and potential stakeholders, including clients, personnel, volunteers, funders and business leaders.

The award also had a positive impact on the team that works across all of our north-east bases. The morning after the win, our centres were a buzz of excitement, with a sense of pride and joy being displayed from our loyal group of staff and volunteers. Each has played a role in the success of the charity over the years and it’s great that this hard work has been publicly recognised.

An award nomination and win can also bring a number of PR and marketing opportunities, which again have an important role to play in explaining more about the work of the charity to the community it is based within.

It goes without saying that to achieve an award win, the hard work and commitment to provide a high level of care has to be there as it is this that ultimately decides whether or not you will be successful in your bid. However, if this is there, then being involved with an award’s ceremony, either as a nominee or a winner, can help bring a number of benefits to your charity and could just be the difference that makes someone come forward to hear how you can help; I’d thoroughly recommend it.


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