#CollectiveAction – our charitable response to Covid-19

The unprecedented crisis we find ourselves in has prompted some heart-warming responses; from businesses to individuals, everyone wants to do their bit.

Our employees are no different. On 17 April they launched #CollectiveAction, a viral social media campaign aimed at encouraging colleagues to act and to donate. It has raised nearly £3.5 million already.

“It is a testament to the incredible spirit of generosity and kindness within Schroders that we have been able to raise this much money in such a short space of time. Our ethos of ‘investing for what matters most’ is summed up by this collective effort by our employees all around the world coming together as a force for good in these challenging times.” Peter Harrison, Group Chief Executive

With 5,110 people around the world, there’s every chance you might have stumbled across one of them on social media – particularly on LinkedIn – tagging #weare5110 or #collectiveaction and passing the baton to a colleague.

Before the fundraising, the first step was to ask employees which themes we should focus our charitable efforts on. They chose:

  • Helping the helpers
  • Providing food and essentials
  • Supporting vulnerable people (domestic abuse victims and those struggling with mental health)

We then selected a number of charities under these themes with the aim of helping vulnerable people affected by the pandemic. Through our donations we have provided food to vulnerable children, families and frontline workers. We have also covered the costs to support the increased number of calls from those suffering with mental health issues or victims of domestic abuse.

The #CollectiveAction campaign was underpinned by an option for employees to donate a proportion of their salary. In March, directors donated 25% of their pay for three months and executive directors also donated a portion of their variable pay (i.e. their 2020 LTIP grant).

Beyond this, our people turned to social media to spread the word on additional giving. The first challenge – #WeAre5110 – aimed to get people  to run or walk 5,110m or to do something for 5,110 seconds (85 minutes) to raise money for Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF). They shared their efforts on our Schroders Giving intranet community, nominated a colleague and donated to our global fundraising page. Schroders matched all of the donations.

“The campaign and initiatives like #WeAre5110 have been instrumental in bringing us closer together, giving us all the opportunity to help in some small way. It is a good reminder of the positive impact possible when you harness the human spirit behind a common purpose.” Louise Hosking, Chief of Staff

The initial fundraising target of £10,000 for MSF – which has doctors working on the frontline in more than 70 countries – was rapidly exceeded. That was thanks to some amazing and imaginative efforts: from salsa dancing for 85 minutes to climbing 5,110 steps at home; from climbing 5,110 ft to skipping 5,110 times.

A new target of £20,000 was set, and through #ThePowerOfTogether we launched the #34Together challenge. The 34 refers to the number of countries around the world that Schroders operates in.

“In times like these, we have to come together and do our best to help those in need. I am truly glad to be part of the global and local fight against Covid-19.” Shein Tah Yap, Singapore

Beyond donating, our people have also contributed directly to charity projects. For instance, the Missing Maps project to help map the Cusco region in Peru. The maps are used to provide cash assistance to families who are prevented from working by the quarantine and State of Emergency in Peru, and to provide nutrition and sanitation assistance. Our colleagues from around the world have been busy mapping from their homes.

Schroders has long supported employees in their charitable efforts, from matching on payroll giving and external fundraising to a time-matching scheme for volunteering. We want to do the right thing. It’s why matching the fundraising efforts of employees is so important. It is also why the company is a signatory to the UN Global Compact, driving progress towards the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The severe challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic serve as a reminder of the importance of purpose. They also remind us of the power of each individual to make a difference.

We launched our first response to Covid-19 in March through Schroders Giving, which combines longer term strategic partnerships with charitable funding. You can read more about Schroders Giving for Covid-19 relief here.