How To . . . work with charities

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6 April 2007
6 April 2007
The section for travel selling staff
How To . . . work with charities
Charity begins at your agency
You may have donned red noses for Comic Relief
last month, but could you support charity on an
ongoing basis? Debbie Ward talks to agents for
whom giving has proved a positive experience
North South Travel
gives all its profits
to good causes
FOR Sunderland-based
Escape2Kenya, charity
began in Africa, not at home.
The agency has been
contributing to Children of
Watamu for two years. It
now gives £5 of its profit
from every booking to the
organisation, and last year
raised about £2,000.
Agency owner Dave
Wilson says: “Earning what
we do out of Kenya – a good
little living – we thought we
should do something to put
a bit back. It seems the
perfect marriage – small
company, small charity. That
is how we like to do business.”
Escape2Kenya’s donations have
bought bicycles, a generator and
TVs, videos and computers for a
school in Watamu. It also sponsors
a six-year-old
Kenyan boy.
There’s a link
to Children of
Watamu on
the agency’s
website but
staff don’t “force
it down clients’
throats” and
mention the
charity only if a
expresses a
wish to help Kenyan causes.
Escape2Kenya plans to expand in
Africa. Dave says: “For each country
we go into we’d like to donate to a
charity. Your conscience should tell
you if you are making money out of
poor countries you should try to give
a little back.”
“Your conscience
should tell you, if
you are making
money out of poor
countries, to give
a little back”
features reporter
020 7921 8038
[email protected]
the only agency in the UK run on
a non-profit-making basis. Owned
by charity NST Development
Trust, the agency was founded in
1967 by a former director of the
Government of India Tourist
Office in London who ploughed
the profits into Indian charities.
Now it benefits projects across
the developing world.
Brenda Skinner, North South
Travel director, says: “We give out
donations twice a year, in January
and June. The accountant tells
us how much money we have got
to give away. We tell charities to
write to us about specific projects
then the charity trustees pick out
the good ones.”
The agency prefers to give to
small charities which it believes
will stretch their donations further.
“To small organisations £50 or
even £20 could be used to pay
for a teacher for a month in some
places,” she says.
Many charities use
North South Travel to
book their own travel
arrangements but it
handles regular clients
too. Brenda says:
“Customers think it is
marvellous if you say the
money you make is going
to charity and not into
someone’s pocket.”
Other agents raise
money for projects closer to
home. Worldchoice agencies
Launceston Travel in Cornwall
and Purser’s Travel in Stockport
have both supported breast cancer
charities, the former by holding a
pink-themed day with raffle and
the latter by entering the Race
for Life as a team. Purser’s also
asks for charity donations in
exchange for brochures.
South London agency Travel
Improving team spirit
Providing a greater understanding of developing
countries you book travel to
Improving your agency’s standing in the
Generating good publicity in exchange for
competition prizes
Creating a positive buzz about your business
Giving customers a feelgood factor when they
Matters supports environmental
charity Trees for Cities and Darren
Phillips of Darren Phillips Travel,
South Shields, organises the annual
Geordie Ball which supports many
local causes.
Going Places
branches sell
Dora the Explorer
key-rings in aid
of Great Ormond
Street Hospital’s
children’s charity
Involvement with a charity as
a travel agent led to a
new career for
Plumley. The former Thomas Cook
consultant has
worked for the last
three years as a “wishmaker” at the Starlight
Children’s Foundation, which
arranges special experiences for
terminally ill youngsters.
She explains: “When I was at
Thomas Cook, the branch I used to
work at looked after the Starlight
account so any wishes that kids
wanted to go on, I would book them.
I heard about a maternity cover
position with Starlight and applied
for it and I have been here since.”
Disneyland Paris and swimming
with dolphins in Florida are two of
North South Travel in Chelmsford
goes a step further. It believes it is
Purser’s Travel’s
Iain Townsend.
The agency ran a
sweepstake on
Red Nose Day and
asks for charity
donations in
exchange for
Contact Frontline
email: [email protected]
fax: 020 7921 8032
post: TTG Frontline,
First Floor, Ludgate House,
245 Blackfriars Road,
London SE1 9UY
Escape2Kenya’s Dave Wilson (left) with Somak sales manager Nimit Amin. The Sunderland agency gives £5 of
its profit from every booking to a Kenyan children’s charity
the popular travel wishes Dominique
grants. She also gets involved in
helping children to meet their
celebrity heroes. There was a double
surprise for one girl: Dominique
arranged for her and her family to
meet football star David Beckham at
an England training session, and
Prince William also turned up.
Dominique is currently working on
a “fairy day” for a young girl. “We’ll
probably do a party for her. Maybe
we will all get dressed up as fairies,”
she says.
Dominique has found turning her
agency experience to benefit a
charity fulfilling. “I love going to work
everyday, and there are not many
people who can say that,” she adds.
Former Thomas
Cook consultant
Dominique Plumley
(left) with fellow
wishmaker Laura
Smith, give one
little girl a fairy
Give the profits for certain bookings to a
particular charity
Encourage customers to pay a voluntary contribution to charity on top of all or certain bookings
Hold a theme night for customers with a charity
raffle or donations for entry
Give a holiday or vouchers as a raffle prize for a
charity’s fundraiser
Get sponsored for a team challenge
Put charity leaflets in ticket wallets and mailouts,
and add links to charities on your website
Suggest charity projects that your clients might
like to visit on their holidays
Give clients a list of souvenir outlets that
support local communities in their destination
Give away your profit on travel bookings made
by charity workers
A register of all charities in England and Wales
can be found at You
can search it by location – for instance, charities in
your town or supporting a certain country – and
themes, such as the environment, disability etc
A similar search for Scottish charities is
available on
For information on charities in Ireland,
email [email protected]
Prince William
surprises Dominique
Plumley (bottom
left) and a family
she had arranged
to meet David