Why charity matters to Bionic's marketing manager Dan O'Sullivan

Chloe Bell
By Chloë Bell, Content Journalist

With British workers spending a whopping 3,507 days (about 9 and a half years) of their life at their office desks (or hunched over the kitchen table with a dodgy Zoom signal in the Covid era) it’s no wonder that we crave jobs that are not only enjoyable professionally but also fit in with our personal core values.  

If you’re spending that much time beavering away at your nine-to-five, then you want to make sure you’re really feeling fulfilled in every area of your routine. And taking time out of your busy schedule to put something back into the community is a great way to achieve this.  

Charity plays a huge part in many people’s lives, whether through simply making a monthly donation or relying on the great work done by selfless volunteers. And with over 169,000 different charities across the UK, it’s clear that a lot of people value helping others. 

Viable ways to volunteer

Most of us will have a cause close to our hearts, one that will spur us on to sign up for a gruelling marathon, rise at the crack of dawn to train for a triathlon, or part ways with our weekends to volunteer. It matters to us to give back. 

Many workplaces now offer incentives like charity days where each staff member is given a day to specifically volunteer or take part in a fundraising event to support a cause. Extras like this can really help to inspire staff, enrich their experience, and encourage them to give back to the local community. 

But while many companies are aware that charity work is important to a great deal of their workers, three out of every five UK employees still cannot take a specific day off to volunteer, instead it must be used as holiday. 

Bionic isn't one of these companies and the organisation itself has really put a lot of thought into how it supports worthwhile charity work. We caught up with Bionics' senior marketing operations manager Dan O’Sullivan to pick his brain and, find out how he gets stuck into helping others. We also get an insight into how Covid restrictions made Bionic volunteering a little different this year. 

“There’s a number of things Bionic do to support charities” Dan says, “Our affiliated charity is The Childhood Trust, but if staff members have causes close to their hearts and they’re raising money then Bionic are really supportive.” 

Dan adds “We also have this thing called salary sacrifice which means a staff member can opt to automatically donate to The Childhood Trust every month, then Bionic matches the figure. It’s a nice scheme, it’s quick and easy to contribute.” 

Giving youngsters a chance

What about the Childhood Trust, what are its core values and what does Bionic do to help? 

“The Childhood Trust affiliation came about in 2019” Dan says, giving us the lowdown on the worthwhile charity “Bionic was looking to make a difference and the aim of this specific charity is to help children in poverty. London has one of the highest child poverty rates in Europe, so we really wanted to try and do something about that.” 

He added, “The charity basically tries to give young people a chance and a platform, we aim to help them fulfil their potential.” 

There are several ways Bionic strives to do this. Other than the salary sacrifice, staff can use their charity day to volunteer with The Childhood Trust (or a charity of their choice), take part in an event or get involved in helping underprivileged kids as a team. The planning, lead up and actual event days create a real sense of community at Bionic, as everyone gets stuck in and prepares to help in whatever way they can. 

Dan told us a little about what the annual charity day consists of and how the current restrictions made adapting a main priority.  

He said “Before Covid we’d go and volunteer at youth centres and help to renovate them, or we’d put on a Christmas party or a summer BBQ for the kids.”  

“During Covid, it was a bit different, and we’ve had to adapt, but we got involved with this scheme last March called ‘Future Frontiers’ which helps underprivileged kids across the country. Each child is matched with a mentor from a professional background, and it opens them up to learning about different career paths based on their interests and skills.” 

Dan added “We mentor them for four sessions and get them to see that there are a lot of different jobs out there that aren't just what we’re told about at school. I don’t know about you but when I was at school, I only really knew about limited career paths like doctor or journalist. I didn't know that there were so many different paths within digital marketing for example.” 

The future of future frontiers

Future Frontiers is an organisation aimed at young people between the ages of 16-18 and helps to really guide them through the next stages of their lives; choosing a career, job, or sector to grow and thrive in. This year, 15 Bionic volunteers were matched with 15 children, and this made up over 90 hours of specialised career coaching.  

Katie Leather, Future Frontier's senior programme manager said “The Bionic volunteers brought a friendly, outgoing, and palpable enthusiasm to the programme and supporting their young people. It was wonderful to see coaches using their expansive networks to put pupils in contact with role models.  

“I have been very impressed with their commitment to ensuring their pupils get the most out of each session. A huge thank you to the Bionic team for all your hard work!” 

Although Dan agrees that Covid changed the way the charity days played out to an extent, he doesn’t think it was any less successful. In many ways, the restrictions allowed Bionic to get creative and come up with brand new ways to help those in need. The Future Frontier scheme was a hit and mentoring sessions were carried out remotely but still worked remarkably well. 

And although social distance rules threw a spanner in the works at the latest charity day, Dan is still proud of the work that he does alongside his Bionic teammates.  

“Before we’ve taken part in tough mudders and runs, but anytime anyone is partaking in a charity event, we always spread the word throughout the company and shout out to get them recognition and encourage them.” 

Dan emphasises how important charity work is. He says “It’s important, it brings people together and you’re giving something back to your community, it's about trying to make a difference in our local area.  

He added “It used to be just a few of us coming up with charity ideas but now it’s grown beyond just Bionic, now we have our partners BSI, Smart and Think and we’ve come up with other ideas about how to give back.” 

To find out more about Bionic, what we’re all about or what other charity work we’ve got up our sleeves head to our site