At the start of the year, the BIE team voted to support two charities – Drive Forward, a charity set up to support young adults leaving foster or residential care with sustainable employment opportunities and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Like many businesses, we had our fundraising plans mapped out for the year. Six months on, those plans have inevitably been put on hold. And as options for fundraising are reduced, we have had to look creatively at how we continue to support these charities virtually.

One of our most successful fundraising ideas has been to host a virtual coffee morning. On 25 September BIE held a coffee morning for Macmillan Cancer Support on Zoom, raising £800. Our target was to pay for a Macmillan Social Care Worker for a week, helping patients, family members and carers manage the social and practical problems of living with cancer. We were delighted to exceed our target. 

We thought it would be useful to share some of the ways we raised these funds and to ask that if you have any suggestions for us, or other organisations supporting charities and the wider community during lockdown, to leave a comment below.

Here are a few of our coffee morning ideas:

Online Raffle

It was simple, effective and engaging. We sent a communication to the BIE team every morning, for a week before the event, to leave a donation on our Just Giving page. Those who did were then entered into a raffle. The winning ticket was generated online at the event. Congratulations to Claire Paramo on her box of chocolates!

Bake a Cake Competition

Those who had the time (and culinary skill) entered our baking competition and it’s quite clear that there are some star bakers amongst us. Huge well done to Sharon Franks on her incredible coffee mug creation and Ann-Maree Imlach for an outstanding 'penguin pool party'.

Lockdown Bingo

Games and quizzes always seem to go down well with the team and are a great way to bring everyone together in a fun way. We decided on a lockdown Bingo and not only did it create a bit of a buzz amongst the team, it was also interesting to see how we have all been spending our personal time. How many can you tick off?

Personal stories

At the start of the event, it was useful to revisit why we had selected to back Macmillan Cancer Support this year, with several members of the team kindly sharing their personal experiences with the charity. It was helpful to take a few moments out of the working day to reflect on the great work being done.

For more information on Macmillan Cancer Support and what they do, visit

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