Business partner: De Vere Group and Variety

The hotel group links up with the children's charity

Variety: different fundraising sources
Variety: different fundraising sources

Cynics might assume that fundraising targets are often deliberately set on the low side to facilitate the "good news" of smashing them. But in the case of the children's charity Variety and the hotel group De Vere, the exceeding of expectations was a genuine surprise.

The three-year partnership, which ended in May, was expected to raise £250,000. The actual amount amassed was £1,175,000 - more than four times the original target.

Colleen Ettridge, major accounts manager at Variety, says the partnership exploited the fundraising potential of three different sources. Employees raised funds through events such as marathon runs, skydives and "wear something yellow" days. Suppliers chipped in with a golf day and an annual Burns Night celebration - the latter event raising a total of £200,000 over the three years.

But according to Variety, the largest contribution came from the hotel chain's customers. A £1 donation was voluntarily added to the bills of hotel guests and conference users, though the hotel group has not revealed precisely how much was raised by this method.

The willingness to donate was aided by Variety's familiarity. It is indelibly associated with showbusiness and, until last November, was known as the Variety Club.

"We dropped the word 'club' because that made it seem like we were some kind of exclusive club, which we are not - we are a very modern charity," says Ettridge.

The partnership has enabled the charity to present 30 of its trademark Sunshine coaches to schools and other organisations.

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