Archive for the ‘Charities’ Category

Time to Prioritise Caring

December 30, 2016

Caring

As we roll into another year we inevitably start thinking about the things we have achieved and the things we want and wish for in the new year.

If I was to express my wishes for next year in one word I would choose the word “Caring“.

I’m not sure if it is just now that I feel there is a real deficit of caring in the world, if it is just what I am seeing and reading or whether it is a reflection of my age and if I am starting to think and observe things differently?

I am worried that there is not enough caring in the world and I feel that this year has plummeted with awful incidents in Nice, Berlin, Aleppo and some of the horribleness that we witnessed in the United States by the President Elect, Donald Trump in his campaign.

Lessons in how to win elections were absorbed by a new generation and “caring” isn’t quite the word that comes to mind when you reflect on what we saw being played out for months and months in the lead up to the awful result.

Closer to home our year ended in Ireland with the homeless coming together under the simple ‘Home Sweet Home‘ banner and they occupied an unused office building, Apollo House to put much needed roofs over heads and put a public spotlight on this big issue, which is getting worse and worse. The homeless need this as they can’t go on strike to get attention.

We heard the involvement of high profile Irish musicians including Glen Hansard and Hozier being sadly criticised by some in the media as being a stunt by them to raise their popularity!

What has happened with the way we think about things?

The courts moved in double quick time (they can when they want to) incredibly to process an injunction against the occupants.

The very sad “win” was that the homeless were allowed stay in the disused office building until January 11th – Merry Christmas!!

When living in a disused office block over Christmas is considered a win for those poor temporary residents we have arrived at a very poor state of affairs. Unfortunately this was a win for them – can you imagine?

My wish for the new year is that we start genuinely caring for each other, that we teach our children the importance of caring and let them witness it everyday, that we teach caring in our schools, that we make caring a priority in our workplaces, that caring becomes part of the values that companies live by and that we put caring for people in our communities, on our roads, in our cities and countries before any other criteria.

Let’s start caring.

Happy New Year and a big thank you to all the readers of my blog posts – see you next year!!

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Strategic Communications, Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

4.5% APR on a new BMW and the ‘Rough Sleepers’ team

November 21, 2016

Rough Sleepers - Dublin Simon

I was tired and cranky on this bitterly cold Monday morning.

Bert, one of our four legged ones woke at 1 am thinking it was “get up time” and made sure that we knew all about it so we had a lousy nights sleep.

The heat was on but it didn’t really feel like it as we got ready for work. I checked my iPhone for any relevant updates and I jumped in the shower allowing the hot water to wake me up.

We had the radio on as we got ready and I listened to the news items on Newstalk including Donald Trump and Hamilton, the on-going saga of strikes and the adverts came on.

Order your 171 BMW now and enjoy an APR of 4.5%

The new Five Series BMW is due out early in the new year – hmmm, I wonder what will that be like?

I jumped on my exercise bike in the cold spare room and even though I wasn’t really in the mood I peddled like hell for 20 minutes, while I watched a documentary about the musician Moby. I stared out the window at the frost on the ground and on the top of the cars including my darling, 161 car as I peddled and peddled…phew, 20 minutes went slower than usual but I got there!

The painful getting ready for work process continued as I pulled out a shirt to iron – I hate ironing, but it has to be done.

Before heading to work we wrapped up and walked both Honey and Bert around the housing estate. I made an angry gesture to the car driver who felt he had the right of way as he swung right into us as we crossed over the entrance to one of the housing estates – jerk! I wanted to chase after him and give him a bit of my mind … (that would really get my day started well!)

We walked carefully avoiding the icy patches on the footpaths and with both hands numb we eventually got back home. I let the engine in the car running so it wouldn’t be cold when we sat into it.

We fed the dogs and put them outside, feeling really guilty as it was so cold. We opened the door to the shed so they would have a place to snuggle up if they felt like it.

Just as we were heading out the door I spotted the fantastic book, ‘Looking at the Stars’ that Martina Bergin from Dublin Simon gave me last week.

looking-at-the-stars-dublin-simon

Martina heads up the ‘Rough Sleepers’ team at Dublin Simon who basically look after those who are literally sleeping rough in Dublin. I thought about all of the rough sleepers and the homeless last night and how cold they must have felt. Can you imagine?

I quickly read one of the fantastic pieces in the book, written by a person who simply went by the name ‘Donal’ which put my ‘rough night’ into perspective.

I hope the office is warm today…it’s easy to forget how lucky we are.

Say hello to the Rough Sleepers when you pass them today – they had a very rough night.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Strategic Communications, Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Do Good and do Good Business

May 28, 2016

Simon - Bringing breakfast to the homeless

I was asked to give the new Dublin Chamber of Commerce member, Ian Hannon of Activate Sales Training, two minutes at the beginning of the Business Owners Network session (we hold these every second Friday at 7:30am) to introduce himself to the group and briefly promote a training programme that he was running shortly.

I was determined that I would give him about a maximum of 2 minutes as I had a busy “Let’s do Business” session planned.

I was chatting with him during the pre-meeting networking over coffee and croissants and I let him know that I would introduce him at the very beginning of the session. During the course of our chat he explained that he had been up really early because on Fridays he volunteers for Dublin Simon Community and he does a ‘breakfast run‘ before his days work.

Basically he delivers breakfast packs to some of the homeless on the streets of Dublin.

Ian became a different person to me.

At the start of the session when I was introducing Ian I asked him to first tell the group what he did earlier that morning. The group hung on his every word as he spoke about the different characters, the guys he sees regularly, the guys who are still asleep, the guys who are on the streets for just a few days.

Ian became a different person to everyone in the room.

When he got around to speaking about his training programme everyone listened attentively – we liked him, respected him and trusted him. He spoke for a lot more than 2 minutes – Ian will do well!

Do good and do good business.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Corporate Social Responsibility consultancy from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

 

Christmas Presents

December 1, 2015

Goat for Christmas

I love the sketch (see below) with Ricky Gervais, Steve Merchant and Karl Pilkington about Christmas presents – it’s that time of the year again and the subject of corporate gifts is upon us!

I remember the first Christmas after we had entered the recession I was dropping a small hamper to a client as a ‘thank you‘ for the business during the year.

The strangest thing happened – he turned me away quite awkwardly and refused to accept the gesture of thanks “not under the circumstances” he said .. “We are in a recession“.

To me I wanted to simply show our appreciation for the work and I felt the gesture was valid regardless of how the economy was going.

That was really the end of the Christmas business gifts as we knew them and even the sending of physical Christmas cards became an exception.

It was noticeable last year as the economy started to improve the gifts and gestures of appreciation started to slowly reappear and I tried to pay particular attention to the ones that impacted on me and the ones that had less impact.

At best the gift gesture should be an opportunity to show appreciation and even strengthen the business relationship – at worst the gesture will make no difference to you and might even make you feel like you are on a big database!

The Thoughtful Gift

This one is a beauty where the person meets you and gives you something they have really thought about, which clearly had significance to you – fantastic!

The Christmas meal

This is a powerful gesture but it is a really time consuming one. With special relationships it is invaluable – if you can break bread together in a relaxed setting then go for it.

The Homemade Gift

On this occasion the person makes something for you … It doesn’t have to be big or extravagant but it was made by them for you. This is an incredibly personal gesture and very powerful.

The Gift for all

This is the gift that you know is one of many. It is great to get a gift but always better if you know it came with special thought and effort. If this is delivered with a personalised card it works.

The Charity Donation

This is definitely a nice idea (it could even be a goat!) but it does rob you of that opportunity of giving something to your client.

The POS gift

The gift of a calendar or diary complete with their logo only works if it is something of genuine quality – if not then it is probably more about them than you .

The Christmas Card

The card alone can be powerful if the sender takes the time to personalise it with a genuine message. Some card is better than no card. Personalising is time consuming but it makes all the difference.

The ‘thank you”  message (email/text)

A personalised message (email or letter) with a genuine note of appreciation works well if there is no hint of it being generic. Written well this can be better than any card. This can even work as a text but make sure it is 100% personalised

The E-Card

The generic Christmas card sent by email was a real product of the recession – for me this is just jamming up my inbox and it has very little meaning. Some of these come with a note about Christmas opening hours, which is fine I guess.

I did notice that many of our business relationships weren’t acknowledged in any way – I don’t hold anything against any of these business partners but an opportunity was lost to say thanks and make these relationships stronger.

Christmas is that time of the year that gives you an opportunity for saying thanks and you shouldn’t waste it.

When deciding what gifts to give I wouldn’t worry too much about the monetary value, however I would go along with ‘it’s the thought that counts‘ sentiment and I would add Personalise with a capital ‘P when possible.’

If you want to show genuine appreciation then go for it!

Merry Christmas and thank you for your custom..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, with offices in Dublin and Cork

Celebrating ‘Real Heroes’

November 30, 2014

Brendan Dempsey - Bia Food

We are really great at celebrating our sporting, musical, artistic, and even our business heroes.

I guess this is easy when they do big things like win important matches, break world records, win gold medals, score big goals, win fights, appear in blockbusting movies, have hit albums, open new companies, win big contracts and create lots of jobs.

We need these heroes as they inspire us and they should be celebrated.

Last week I was really thrilled to see a ‘real hero’ being acknowledged and celebrated.

I first met Brendan Dempsey about two months ago after we had volunteered to do some pro bono work for the Bia Food Initiative, which is an incredible operation designed to take ‘surplus food’ in our retail system and to preserve and maximise the use of this for needy causes.

This food, which would otherwise end up being dumped is being preserved for great use through clever logistics, huge determination and an abundance of goodwill.

Brendan Dempsey, a well know volunteer with Saint Vincent de Paul for over 30 years has been operating his own small scale food distribution operation in his famous ‘clapped out refrigerated van‘ for quite a while now. In many ways his ad-hoc food redistribution service was the inspiration and model for the Bia Food Initiative.

When I met Brendan I first noticed the roguish glint in his eye – you got the sense that this very practical and larger than life character doesn’t stand on ceremony and according to himself he wouldn’t be the most popular man around as he “says it the way he sees it“.

After listening to the other members of the fantastic Bia Food team telling us how the whole scheme works, Brendan brought everything to life by sharing some of his real life stories. Apparently over the last few years it is the ‘new poor‘ who have been most affected and most in need of help. These were quite well off people who crashed badly during the recession and as a result were now broke and in many cases without the money to literally put bread on the table.

He shared one story where a child in one of families he delivered food to, tugged at his trouser leg and asked him “will you be my dad?“. I’m sure Brendan has experienced heart tugging moments like this thousands of times in the last 30 years but this didn’t stop the tears coming to his eyes as he shared the story with me.

We were doing the PR and event support around the official opening of the first Bia Food distribution centre in Cork last week (28th Nov, 2014) where we had speeches by various officials and sponsors. Tanaiste Joan Burton was in attendance at this feel-good event to ‘officially’ open the centre, which is the first of three to be opened. In the next two years similar centres will open in Dublin and Galway.

The little curtain that covered the official plaque to mark the occasion, was pulled back and the name of centre was revealed. It carries the name of a ‘real hero’ Brendan Dempsey, the quiet man who was standing to one side as all the speeches were being made. Needless to say this humble man was mortified and shocked as he clearly knew nothing about this honour.

For once it is fantastic to see a real hero honoured.

Are there others just like Brendan who we need to acknowledge?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer strategic advice around (CSR) Corporate Social Responsibility from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

How’s it going?

May 14, 2014

“How’s it going?” a bright face looked up at me.

I had a busy day yesterday…

Up early for a meeting to help mediate a problem between two parties that I know well that were about to go through a silly court process, gave a social media course to a group of business owners, drove to Dublin for a big pitch to a potential prospect – I feel it went well, fingers crossed!

We headed for an early bird to Chez Max on Baggot Street with our crew and were joined after by friends for a few drinks and some fun.

We ended up in 37, Dawson Street for more fun and then Burger king of course.

There was a beautiful full moon hanging over Dublin on this gorgeous night as we strolled back to our hotel. Our usual haunt was booked out so we ended up trading up to the very fancy, Merrion Hotel. Hotels in Dublin are clearly getting busier, which is a great sign for our economy.

As we made our way back to the hotel I noticed the bodies nestled in their sleeping bags alongside doorways just off Stephen’s Green. At least tonight it was dry and not too cold, which is a small blessing for those unfortunate enough not to have a roof over their heads for the night.

I glanced into one doorway where i noticed there were two people sleeping alongside each other.

To my surprise a bright face was staring up at me. For a brief moment we connected “How’s it going?” he said in a soft friendly voice. “Not bad at all, thanks”

We made our way back to our hotel and put our heads down for the night.

Today it’s off to Dublin Airport as we are taking a flight to Sicily for a well earned rest and some sunshine – it should be great, we’ve never been.

I wonder what my bright faced friend is doing today.

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion, Marketing & PR with offices in Cork and Dublin

Lance, Flawed hero and the Power of “Sorry”

January 20, 2013

Lance ArmstrongI’m sorry for what I have done” said Lance as he glanced across at Oprah with those steely eyes.

It was the most fascinating interview and you may not have have liked what was he was saying but he did come across as being honest..even to the point of admitting that he was and probably still is a “jerk“.

It’s hard to know how to feel about the whole episode – I had a big discussion with my son Brendan, about the whole thing.

He totally disagrees with me!

I’ve got a simple view of Lance Armstrong ..

The Sportsman

I reckon anyone who is at the very top of their game must be extremely driven and obsessive about what they do ..it could be soccer (Roy Keane, a typical example), ballet, politics, writing, anything. If you are not obsessive you just won’t be at the very top.

Lance Armstrong who admitted he operated a  “Win at all Costs” mentality rose to the pinnacle of a sport that has been riddled with drugs and illegal practices for as long as I can remember.

Did the authorities that run professional cycling allow an environment and culture that made these illegal practices possible?

My simple question here is – did Lance practice harder and do drugs better and more effectively than all of the other cyclists? 

The Cancer Survivor

Lance Armstrong - Cancer SurvivorHe beat the odds against cancer and once again he became a winner.

He even managed to commercialise his story and the cancer journey by capturing it in books that inspired people all over the world with his “don’t give up, win” mentality.

More than once I have heard people quote his book as helping them through tough and very dark times (just last week, Chris Donoghue, Newstalk presenter)

The Charity

Livestrong FoundationUsing the power of his iconic status he formed the Livestrong Foundation charity raising money for cancer research and once again inspiring sick people the world over with his drive and inspiration.

The Cheat, the Liar and the Betrayal

We all know at this stage how much he cheated (it’s not right, but were they all at it?) and we know what a great and convincing liar (over and over he did this) he is.

The very worst of all was how he betrayed close friends, colleagues and team mates and in many cases tried to destroy them professionally and personally to protect the huge Lance Armstrong brand that he had built. He even went as far as suing people who were telling the truth just to protect himself.

This part is truly unforgivable and despicable – I really don’t know how anyone could do this.

Maybe the brand was so big and invincible that no one could handle it? Could he handle it?

Lance Armstrong is an incredibly driven individual who scaled huge heights, achieved incredible feats and managed to do a lot of good but he is incredibly flawed and is guilty of doing some terrible things.

The Power of Sorry

Lance Armstrong & Oprah

I’m Sorry …

The great thing about having a public profile (the Sean Quinn interview with Vincent Browne comes to mind) is that you will always have an audience for “sorry” – in Lance’s case he was able to have the largest possible audience with Oprah.

He said “sorry” and it gave him an opportunity to connect with a huge audience. I watched it and I did empathise with him.

Not everyone will forgive him but many will …some other viewers might just soften their attitude towards him a little.

There is huge power in the word “sorry” – always use it..

Lance Armstrong, the flawed hero – have we seen the last of him? I doubt it!

Sorry!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion with offer Crisis PR services for clients from our offices in Dublin and Cork.

Patrick’s Hill, Heroes and Villains

August 17, 2011
Tour de Munster - Down Syndrome Ireland

The anticipation !

We anxiously waited on Patrick’s Hill in Cork alongside partners, children, other family members, people from the charity, collectors, sponsors, spectators, cycle fans and curious onlookers.

This was the finale of the Tour de Munster, one last leg of the gruelling 600km cycle around Munster in just four days. The 150 cyclists were delayed as there was a nasty tumble earlier in the day when one of the guys had a bad fall and suffered concussion – this left the schedule about an hour behind.

Every year Paul Sheridan and his team of cycling and fundraising enthusiasts endure this four days of madness for a different charity. For the second year in succession Down Syndrome Ireland are the chosen recipients for all the fundraising efforts, which already look like they are going to break all previous records.

Months of organisation, training, discipline and endurance have gone into this and every other Tour de Munster, which is now in its 11th year. Paul Sheridan is a tough task master and every year for months in advance he drives this team of cyclists hard, preparing them for these gruelling four days.

Tour de Munster

Who said this was tough?

There are some seasoned cyclists in the troop but the 150 is also made up of a random mix of all sorts who have committed themselves to this crazy challenge. This includes parents of kids with Down Syndrome who are literally cycling for better facilities for their children – these aren’t superb athletes, just ordinary folks with ordinary lives doing extraordinary things.

The excitement is building on Patrick’s Hill and then we have the most awful incident – Ger McCarthy the professional press photographer while preparing to capture images for the newspapers the next morning turns his back for two seconds and discovers that both his expensive Nikon cameras have been stolen (Nikon D3 & D3s).

Did anyone spot anything? – this was done so swiftly and so professionally no one really realised the seriousness of what was happening around them. Basically a car (reddish/maroon old model Toyota) with a few opportunistic men (I don’t want to be racist but these guys have been described as Hispanic looking) drove up Patrick’s Hill, spotted the cameras on the ground behind Ger, did a quick u-turn, pulled in just him and quickly snatched the cameras and sped off… well done boys, aren’t you just fabulous!

Thankfully Griffith College have cameras outside their building and our two opportunists have been captured on camera – hopefully this will result in them getting what they deserve.

I must admit I was so furious and really upset about this – in the middle of all this “goodness” these thieves just turn up and show us all the other side of life.

A few phone calls later and Ger, the ever professional has a replacement camera and we have contacted the Gardai, the newspapers and radio stations and also been busy getting the message out on Twitter and Facebook.

Ger puts the incident to the back of his head and readies himself for the cycling troop.

Sean Kelly - Tour de Munster

Sean Kelly leads the Heroes up Patrick's Hill

The excitement continues to build and eventually the 150 troop are spotted coming across Patrick’s Bridge escorted by a Gardai motorbike team. They stop at the end of the bridge while the Gardai manage the traffic to let the cyclists through. Led by the absolute Irish cycling legend Sean Kelly who stayed with the team for the full four day cycle the cyclists burst from the bridge, up Bridge Street and start the determined and punishing climb up Patrick’s Hill with hundreds of friends and spectators cheering them on and encouraging them to the summit.

Some at their own manageable pace and some sprinting to the top – the daunting hill is a little bit too much for some of the cyclists after the 600 kilometre, four day test and they carry their bikes up the hill.

The last leg is a short journey to the Silversprings hotel for family reunions, refreshments and celebrations – in the comfort of our car we make our way to the hotel and pass four of the cyclists who stopped to help one of the guys fix a puncture literally one minute from the hotel – this cycle is about something very, very special.

The courageous efforts by these heroes will benefit the many heroes in Munster affected with Down Syndrome.

Unfortunately as in every other walk of life for all of the heroes we have we also have too many villains.

Villains – take a good hard look at yourself and realise what you are doing to good people … don’t forget you were caught on camera!

Heroes – I salute you.

Ger McCarthy – thanks for being a total professional as always & we all hope you will get your gear back.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

*Great Update – on Wednesday17th August (just 3 days after the incident) the cameras were recovered as a result of a house raid by the Gardai – this was possible due to the cameras, the help from the public, the help from the media and getting the story out on social media – all of this culminated in our friends being identified.

Good wins out in the end !