So last Thursday I woke up with a heavy cold and knew I needed a day at home to rest up. I picked up my phone to call my boss to let him know I wouldn’t be in and that’s when I saw it - the message.
“Hi Charlie, I need your help organising a carnival on the roof. Oh and it’s tomorrow! Thanks.” - It was from my boss, Glenn, our Founder & CEO.
Intrigued, I replied to find out what on earth he was talking about which is when he told me about his idea to throw the first ever Ice Bucket Carnival, a spin on the popular Ice Bucket Challenge raising awareness and funding research for ALS, or MND as it’s known in the UK.
At 5pm on Friday, we were going to throw a carnival on the 4th floor balcony at our offices in Notting Hill, London. Glenn would take on the Ice Bucket Challenge, nominate all Reward Gateway staff in all countries to do the same within 7 days, and the plan was to stitch all the videos together to make one giant Ice Bucket Challenge.
Never one to say no to a challenge, I agreed to help but only if I could do it in my PJs tucked up in bed. “Okay, deal!” he said, and that was it.. I set off on my 24 hours of planning!
The event plan had things like “order brass band“ and “boys & girls in swimwear and branded sash” on it - this wasn’t going to be a small affair! Requests got more and more elaborate as the day went on, “can we get a juggling clown?” and “we need food - a hot dog stand would be cool”, “don’t forget the confetti cannons!” but it’s all in a days work at Reward Gateway. We never do things by half here, certainly not when Glenn’s involved!
Organising a carnival when you’re sick as a dog isn’t the easiest thing in the world but the reason I said yes was because I immediately saw the benefit. What a great way to get your whole workforce involved in a really fun project that would raise lots of money for charity! The timing was right, everyone likes to clock off a bit early on a Friday evening, and no one was going to turn down watching the CEO get soaked!
One of our company values is “Be Human”. It’s one of my favourites, actually, and this activity is a great example of our employees really living it. Sometimes you have to take off your work hat and just be you, be a bit silly, be human.
We asked all of our staff to donate an hour of their wages on Friday and the company matched it. A relatively small amount for each individual but as a combined effort, we raised £5,245 for charity. The process was really simple too, we just did it via salary deduction with an employee-opt out - I doubt most people will even notice it.