The media-friendly and visible nature of the proposed projects will offer corporate investors a completely new platform to promote their organisations values and show innovative and unique brand leadership while fulfilling commitments to their corporate social responsibility. A 2014 survey revealed that the public are sceptical of corporations’ motives for engaging with corporate responsibility with 61% of those surveyed agreeing that corporate responsibility is ‘just a PR exercise for businesses’. The long-term vision and multi-generational impact of the EWF offers a unique counter perspective to this oft-cited skepticism. From the same survey, 70% of respondents agreed that ‘businesses have an obligation to support the local communities in which they operate’. The unique projects of the EWF will be immediately tangible, visible, and impactful within local communities, and over many generations. There is nothing like the EWF in the UK and as such it offers a distinct opportunity to demonstrate visionary long-term brand leadership as the chance to create a lifetime legacy is uniquely appealing.
The EWF is currently developing a national campaign to raise funds amongst corporate clients, prominent cultural figures and philanthropists. In addition to this there will a national grass-roots campaign. The grass-roots campaign, although predicted to raise less capital, is just as important in realising one of our key aims – namely a shift in culture that elevates the value of, and pride in, our comprehensive education system.
Many of the projects suggested by the EWF would be UK-firsts for our comprehensive schools and, as such, would attract regional, national and global media interest.
The EWF would encourage supporting companies to adopt matched giving and payroll giving amongst its staff – accordingly these methods are not offered by over half of the employers (53% and 52% respectively) represented in a recent (2014) survey of businesses. Such corporate efforts will be in concert with national and local campaigns with supporters encouraged to display their support through car and house window stickers, lapel badges, and social media methods. Companies would also be encouraged to display their support through an EWF wall plaque and their own PR vehicles. Research suggests that investment in education through the projects and methods proposed by the EWF would have a positive impact on corporate image, staff loyalty, and the long-term supply of well-educated well-rounded future human capital.
The amount of money raised and distributed would certainly be a performance indicator but it would not necessarily be a measurement of success. Project impact and success would be measured a number of ways, such as the volume of positive media coverage generated, the number of people reached by such coverage, student and teacher perceptions of their learning environments before and after projects, and by comparing national perceptions of education vs local perceptions where projects have taken place as well as local community interest, take-up, and commitment to the EWF. A central theme of the EWF will be teacher perceptions of how they are valued by society.