How a travel company does Work for Good across the globe

“Through Work for Good, we’ve discovered and directly supported an amazing charity supporting women in remote and rural parts of Malawi that we simply couldn’t reach ourselves.”

We invited Helen Robshaw to talk to us about what makes Work for Good the perfect charity-giving partner for her and her husband’s boutique travel business, Faraway.

Helen and Al

Tell us a bit about Faraway.

My husband, Al, and I launched Faraway after spending a decade each in corporate careers in London. We both love to travel and are passionate about helping people take time out of their busy lives to have an experience they’ll never forget. We plan a lot of adventurous honeymoons and other bespoke trips (sabbaticals, birthday celebrations, anniversaries) and we’ve recently launched group escapes, bringing together like-minded travellers for an unplugged adventure.

What was your motivation for signing up to Work for Good?

Al and I are big believers that, done right, tourism can be both fun and a hugely positive driver for development. As a business, we aim to shine a spotlight on far-flung, under-the-radar destinations; and we work with lodges and other partners who are passionate about giving back to their local communities through employment, training, and local projects, whilst providing a really special experience for our travellers.

But Work for Good has enabled us to do more. Most of our travellers are strongly motivated to give back to the countries they visit; but they are typically looking to us to deliver an unforgettable adventure holiday, not a volunteer experience. Through Work for Good, we’ve discovered and directly supported a charity working on-the-ground in Malawi — the destination we chose for our first group adventure earlier this year.

How does Faraway give through Work for Good?

We’ve recently launched a new arm of our business, Faraway Escapes: group adventures to under-the-radar destinations. Our first one was a ten-day escape in Malawi to coincide with the Lake of Stars music and arts festival on the lakeshore. We donated 1.5% of trip sales to an amazing charity operating there, MicroLoan Foundation.

Going forward, we’ll find a charity in each of the countries where we run group adventures. We’ve also decided to incorporate giving into the core business (planning bespoke trips and honeymoons) — again, a percentage of sales.

For us, the appeal was that it was all so easy. We could tie our giving into something we were already doing and promoting (the group adventure), the platform did all the hard work for us, and we could start small as there’s no minimum donation. It feels good to be off the starting blocks with our charitable giving as a business, and to know that we can effortlessly increase that as we grow.

Tell us more about MicroLoan Foundation

MicroLoan Foundation provide training, mentoring and small loans to help women in rural communities of Malawi set up businesses, and work their families’ out of poverty. Their passion is inspiring, and their progress is impressive; they’ve helped 150,000 women so far and 99% of loans are paid back within four months, so the cycle continues.

I’ve always liked the concept of micro finance and helping people to build a livelihood for themselves; and as a female founder, I liked the idea of supporting other women to build financial independence and provide for their families.

But, ultimately, it was our travellers’ choice; we asked the group to vote between a few different Malawian charities, and Microloan Foundation was by far the favourite.

What would you say to anyone who is looking for a platform to help their small or medium-sized business support a charity?

If you’re already looking for a platform to begin giving to charity, I’d say it’s a no-brainer: Work for Good have a growing directory of amazing charities to choose from, and you can add your own; they’re very flexible in how you give, and how much; and the super helpful team will help you every step of the way, including telling your customers all about it afterwards.

I’d also emphasise that you shouldn’t wait until you’re big or profitable enough. Coming from corporate backgrounds with big corporate social responsibility (CSR) teams and initiatives, Al and I initially wondered whether our £500 donation would even make a dent. As Danny Witter (Co-Founder of Work for Good and Trustee of MicroLoan Foundation) reminded me, if every small and medium-sized business gave 1.5% of sales to charity, the results would be HUGE.

We loved talking to Helen! If you’d like to find out more about Work for Good please do get in touch.