Good question and to be honest, while we set out just looking generally at charities, as we were researching we realised we did actually have some criteria we wanted the charities to display. I'll explain a few here.
Firstly we decided on a sector we personally wanted to work for; LGBTQI+, fighting racism, children, mental health, homelessness etc. From there we scoured the internet looking for charities that had impact at grass roots level. We wanted to be putting funds literally into the hands of those who needed it. We looked closely at the charities accounts. We wanted to know as much of your donation as possible would be put direct to the charities aims and not heavy salaries for the top management. Whilst we appreciate that effective, experienced and driven individuals are needed and come at a price, if we saw that the salaries bill was higher than the services bill, we immediately discounted that charity. It just didn't sit well with us that more money was going to management than those they are set up to serve.
Then we looked at the projects the charity is either creating or supporting. What activities, how many people used those services, what was their reach did they encourage their 'clients' to take part in the development and running of projects? I know, I can hear some of you thinking that we made it hard for ourselves. It is time consuming that's true, but that's how we roll. We are truly invested in helping our charities, and in no way are looking for a quick and easy promo campaign. We want relationships with our charities that extend beyond the initial design process.
Once we have identified 'our' charity, Nat is then responsible for introducing our company to them, building a relationship, and also setting them up with Pledger, who handle all the donations for us. (see an earlier blog post about how we make the donations HERE.) That too takes time, but it is all done alongside my creating the designs for their exclusive collection. It usually takes around 30 days to complete the process from introduction to the charity to going live on the website. It really isn't that long to get all this done, but we want to get the charities receiving donations A.S.A.P. It's what it's all about really.
So far we have 4 charity partnerships and we are immensely chuffed to be working with them and truly care about supporting them long term.
Have any charities turned us down or have we backed out of a partnership?
Yes, we have had a few of the larger charities ask for a huge sum of money up front to work with them. How much? Try £25,000 yup! even if we had got that kind of money we would have walked away. I know fundraising is desperately needed by charities but our thoughts on that was... you greedy buggers! There was no wriggle room with them and for them it was give us the money or don't work with us. It did make us think about how many other potential partners/donors had walked away shaking their heads too? Quite sad really, but fortunately it got us ushered towards the charities we are now working with.
We have had a couple of smaller charities turn us down as they were so pulled out with their day to day work, and they just didn't have people or resources to work with us. I feel for them. I worked in the charity sector for a few years and smaller charities have small staff numbers who are fulfilling the roles of several people at the same time. It's hard graft for them.
We are learning as we go along with this venture as it's a unique business model, that has developed organically over the few months we have been creating Holy Cow Clothing. Where we began by wanting to get some funky designs on t shirts we both could wear, it soon developed into a vehicle for us to support causes we were passionate about.
We do have a few charities waiting in the wings and we will of course let you know as soon as we go live with their collections so, watch this space!
If you know of any charities that would benefit form their very own collection drop us an email please.
Much love to you