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Why we’re supporting the IWF as our Charity of the Year

Following the announcement at our most recent Trenches Fest event, we’d like to publicly share that the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) will be our nominated Charity of the Year. Passionate about defending vulnerable child victims, the IWF removes hundreds of thousands of harmful online images, as well as helps governments shape new laws to create better protection on the web, and run public campaigns to share learnings. Here’s more about our partnership…

Why is it important that your company has a charity of the year programme and how does it align with your Corporate Social Responsibility policy?

At Trenches Law, we’ve been supporting a whole host of not-for-profit organisations over the years, but as we continue to grow in size, we recognise the need to direct our full focus on one organisation rather than making various ad-hoc commitments – not least because it means we can truly embed this partnership within the culture of our company and offer optimum value in our fundraising endeavours.

Employees in today’s working landscape are undoubtedly purpose-driven too, so maintaining a central focus not only pays dividends for staff fulfilment and motivation, but also provides ample team building opportunities to help align and refine our approach to supporting emerging and longstanding public issues. Our ‘brave’ brand value is a key driver in this, as it encourages colleagues to inspire one another and challenge convention, without letting fear or failure stand in the way.

Why did you pick the IWF for your Charity of the Year?

The work the IWF undertakes to safeguard children from online abuse is invaluable in today’s climate – not only is the world becoming increasingly connected, but the levels of sophistication we’re seeing in digital criminality is on the rise too. Above all, IWF is the perfect fit for us because it hits close to home. Our client base is predominantly comprised of altnet operators, who need to closely monitor the information that passes through their network to ensure it remains a safe and comfortable space for end users.

Not only will our pledge to support the IWF manifest in dynamic fundraising initiatives, but it will also take shape through the dedication of time and resources to help spread the charity’s important messaging – including within our own team and across our network of industry contacts.

Managing Director and Co-founder of Trenches Law, Sharon McDermott, added:

“We’re heavily guided by our principles, which means we’re big on relationships and driven by our beliefs in everything we do.

“The IWF remove hundreds of thousands of horrifying images circulated by online perpetrators to help protect vulnerable children, and this is something we’re acutely aware of within our own industry, so the decision to support this cause was a no brainer for us.”

How do you successfully encourage your staff to engage with the ‘Charity of the Year’?

We introduced our chosen charity during our TrenchesFest weekend – a company-wide food, drink, and music festival held to celebrate our anniversary – which helped to position the initiative as something fun and exciting, rather than forced and corporate. By integrating the charity update into such an informal event, we have already begun to embed the IWF into our culture and position our support as a pledge with real value and substance – and we will continue to maintain consistent communication with the team as our commitments evolve.

The insightful and moving IWF hero film provided colleagues with a clear overview of the work the charity undertakes from the very beginning, to help them understand its importance and learn the role Trenches Law can play in our own sector – not least because of our valuable industry experience and strong connections.

How has working with the IWF been so far?

In such a short space of time, having only partnered with IWF in June 2022, we’ve already built a strong connection with the team. Not only are they easy to communicate with, they also proactively seek fundraising opportunities and offer ideas to help augment our initiatives. We’re really looking forward to developing our relationship even further and providing some valuable support over the coming 12 months.

What sort of activities and profile raising have you carried out?

Each of our employees have a charity day each year, in which they’ll be responsible for carrying out their chosen fundraising activity in support of the IWF. This is to help empower our people, show they can each make a difference, plus demonstrate the value that every one of their contributions will have to both the total tally and wider knowledge of this worthy cause.

We also encourage the individual client teams to fundraise as a collective, whether that’s in the form of raffles and fun runs, cake sales or quizzes – our Friday Fizz is legendary! Successful fundraising stems from having a great collective who encourage and inspire one another, and participating in a group activity is the perfect way to fuel this.

Plus, we’re constantly sharing the IWF’s crucial work during our client review meetings. Altnets play such an important role in keeping children safe online, so we’re keen to leverage our relationships as much as possible over the course of our partnership.

It’s early days, but we have an exciting journey ahead of us, and there’ll be plenty to come from the Trenches Law team!

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