What businesses can do in the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks

Image credit: Rochelle Brown / Unsplash

Image credit: Rochelle Brown / Unsplash

New Zealand is changing – our diversity in population, the shift from the regions to the cities, migration from war-torn countries or places where its people simply wanted a better life.

We live in a time of rapid change. 20 years ago, there was no Google, no smart phone, and social media didn’t exist – it was a simpler life.

In light of the recent Christchurch terror attacks, it is vital to represent and embrace the change in our country by standing up and supporting our people from all walks of life – not just personally but professionally.

We are all human; we all share the need to be loved, understood, respected and valued. And in times of tragedy, I believe it is all of our responsibilities to stand up, show our support and understanding for our diverse cultures and rally behind those who are hurting.

Here we highlight some brands that are rallying around our Muslim and Christchurch communities and ideas on how your brand or business can help for the weeks, months and perhaps years to come.

Fundraising lunch
Auckland restaurant Sid at The French Café are hosting a fundraising lunch on Sunday, April 28, with all funds raised being donated directly through hospitality charity DineAid to Victim Support. Tickets come with a hefty $250 per head price tag but you won’t be disappointed with their six-course tasting menu. Also included is a special menu curated by owner and head chef Sid Sahrawat and his teams at Sidart, Cassia and Sid at The French Café. Email info@sidatthefrenchcafe.co.nz to buy tickets.

Take a cue from above and rally your fellow local businesses to host something similar – sell tickets, and promote these across all of your platforms and local press are likely to waive your ad fee if for a charitable cause. Organise a raffle and encourage businesses to donate their services, products or experiences. For big ticket items, auction them off with all funds being donated to those affected.

Don a head scarf
We have all heard the terrifying stories of women, who, by wearing their headscarf are portraying their faith in a very obvious way – and are being tormented for it. With the support of the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand and the NZ Muslim Association, Headscarf for Harmony invited New Zealanders to don a headscarf or head covering to show their support for New Zealand’s Muslim communities. 

Go further and encourage women in your workforce to wear as often as they feel necessary. Perhaps make it a weekly or monthly ongoing donation scheme where staff make a gold coin donation to the families or communities and the business at least matches or doubles what staff have raised.

It’s a culturally sensitive and compassionate way of telling women to wear their scarf – and their faith – with pride and that we are with you; we support, love and respect you all.

Donate goods
Grizzly Baked Goods donated 100 loaves of bread and 300 pastries - the entirety of its production which would usually be sold at the local farmer's market - to Christchurch Hospital for the emergency service workers working around the clock.

Owner and founder Sam Ellis told the Herald: "The way our production works is we were well underway with everything we were making early on Friday morning and it just made sense for us to keep going, finish it all off and then make sure it got into the hands of the people who needed it."

The store was kept open following the attacks, raising money for those affected. Others closed up shop and donated their full orders such as bread, croissants and pastries.

Coordinate a fashion show
Much like the fundraising lunch, coordinate a local fashion show and rally fellow businesses to support and sell tickets through these retailers.

This was something I often helped organise while working at a clothing boutique during my uni days to support school groups or overseas sport trips. We rallied high profile personalities such as the Mayor, sports stars, models, actors and comedians as our models – we even got kids involved to strut the latest looks down the runway.

MCs included local Olympians, bands performed in between each ‘catwalk’, hair stylists and makeup artists donated their time to transform the models and caterers donated nibbles and drinks to the audience. All funds raised through raffles, auctions, ticket sales, food and drink donations were donated to the chosen cause.

The show was held at the local college hall but a restaurant or bar with a large floor space would be perfect and allows for after show drinks and nibbles.

They say time is a healer, but it is going to be an extremely long and windy road to even attempt to repair these broken lives and hearts. It’s important that as NZ attempts to move on, that we always continue to be there for those who are left in pieces for years ahead.

Brands who get this will always win as they can demonstrate they understand the complexities of our evolving societies. Bonus – these activities are fabulous brand-building exercises and a way to unite and strengthen the relationships of your teams when working to help those in need.

For advice, tips and more ways to implement the above elements into your business, contact us at hello@thebusinessofinfluence.co.nz.