Zoe Osmond, chief executive, Nabs
Zoe Osmond, chief executive, Nabs
A view from Zoe Osmond

Think BR: Charity is changing

Charity is no longer just a world of sponsored runs and chuggers, writes Zoe Osmond, chief executive, Nabs.

As an industry I would say that we are a very charitable bunch. Media agencies and owners consistently give their time and space for good causes while ad agencies give their creativity for the same (sure, they might get some awards out of it, but that is just a benefit, not the reason).

So as the charity for the industry we feel we should emulate that generosity of spirit.

That is why we believe our offering is different from many other charities (you may have noticed at the Big Bash we don’t employ the dreaded chuggers) not just in what we give back, but also in terms of the audience we must reach.

So, to engage with an industry where over 50% are under the age of 30 years old, we need to act anything other than traditionally.

Our audience are digital savvy, multiple media consumers; time poor, very intelligent and motivated to move themselves and their careers forward.

Because of this we need to think in different ways and offer something more by giving directly back to the industry. An odd concept in the broader charity space, but an important one so that we can engage with our users, 95% of whom are under 35.

At Nabs our mission is simple - to improve life for those working in the world of advertising, via the provision of help, advice and career guidance.  

We believe that by supporting people in advertising through good times and bad, we can make working life a bit easier in such a dynamic and volatile industry.

However, first we have to get the industry to engage with our services on a more everyday basis – rather than waiting too long or too late, until crisis encroaches. 

Charities are not just there for bad times. They exist to provide a public benefit and in this instance, our ‘public’ is the advertising industry and our ‘benefit’ is career support, based on the softer people skills of coaching, mentoring and support.

To give back the industry that has been so giving to us we realised we needed to target people who may not need crisis help, but are certainly eager for any help they can get to push their careers forward.

Nabs Partner cards are now delivering career development benefits to over 5,000 individuals since the launch this May. 

A holder of a partner card can access a world of benefits, from talks to mentoring, for just £50 a head. In real terms they’re exposed to around £500 of benefit.

As Dave Trott said, for the price of one cheap business lunch, you get access to career benefits that would cost tenfold. 

Thanks to Nabs Time Club - whereby 100 advertising luminaries have donated a few hours of their time to Nabs - we are also able to offer mentoring programmes with industry leaders and industry talks on key subjects affecting our working lives.

Our inspiration club includes offers such as free paintballing days for teams of 10, Waterstones vouchers that are worth £50 but cost only £35 and in time, discount theatre tickets.

As well as the direct company benefits for employees, this initiative, funded corporately also sees money pooled for wider industry benefit in times of crisis.

Then on top of this we are giving away £2,000 for the best fundraising or engagement idea. A charity that relies entirely on voluntary funding being able to give some enterprising young person or group £2,000 for an original, well thought through idea has to be deemed generous. 

So hopefully the industry will start to listen a little more, engage and then use our services, realising that they exist for their benefit.  And in doing so, realise that charities are not just the last port of call but exist for everyone’s benefit. 

Chugging and sponsored runs are no longer sufficient to get your attention but maybe a ticket to an Audience with Lord Sugar, or a mentoring session with Cilla Snowball or Nigel Bogle and a cheque for £2,000 may work…

Zoe Osmond, chief executive, Nabs