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Generosity of Spirit

Supporting charities is a crucial part of what makes Opendoorz professional business networking so successful

Giving back to our local community is one of the reasons Opendoorz exists. 

Understanding what makes your business tick, its purpose if you like, is crucial to its long-term success. That purpose is often articulated in terms of core values. When we first set up Opendoorz 11 years ago, we didn’t really understand that and kind of ‘copied’ other people’s values as we thought ‘They’re a successful business, those must be good values’.

Obviously, they weren’t right for us and, once written, they never got looked at again. Then about 5 years ago we revisited our values and really thought about what drives us to keep investing so much of our time, energy and commitment to Opendoorz. What is our purpose?

Over a glass or two of fizz (well, this was about sticking to what we love!), we developed 6 core things that really matter to us and that we know really matter to our members too. 

  • Never Compromise
  • Bring out the Best in Everyone
  • Have a ‘Grown-Up’ Approach
  • Energise and Motivate
  • Have Fun
  • Be Generous of Spirit 

That last value – Be Generous of Spirit – has been crucial to how we’ve run the business during the COVID pandemic. Over the last 18 months the importance of being mindful, taking time to proactively support others through connections, introductions and collaborations has been crucial. The Opendoorz team and all the members of each of the six groups are proactive in sharing their experiences and expertise to create a learning environment where knowledge is shared and new ideas and initiatives formed. Supporting each other through questioning, challenging and giving honest and constructive feedback helps everyone to improve, innovate and grow.

The other element to this core value is our firm belief that as a business we have a commitment to support and be a part of the local community. Every year we support a local charity inviting them to attend our meetings in order to connect with local businesses and initiate fund-raising events to contribute financially too. We and our members have a long tradition of organising and taking part in innovative charity events and crazy challenges. From music festivals and woodland parties for The Nasio Trust, to mad drivers and dodgy cars in the Twin Town Challenge and a Mad Hatters Party for Special Effect, to a Pink Tie Ball for Breast Cancer Research, a coat collection challenge for the Homeless, and last year a wing-walk for Seesaw. So when, Opendoorz member, Caroline O’Connor, mentioned that JackFM were holding a radiothon in aid of Ronald McDonald House Charity and challenging businesses to turn £50 into £500 we said ‘Sign us up!’.

Now, not to say that our Opendooz members are a competitive bunch but we knew that if we set them a challenge to see which group could raise the most money from a £50 stake they would certainly take the bait – and they did, with gusto!  

Each group took the challenge in its own direction. The Cotswolds and Henley Group both opted for super high-end raffles with amazing prizes whilst the Milton Park and Oxford Groups got sporty. Milton Park held a rowing competition where competitors paid £50 for the chance to prove their superiority over 1500m in order to win a case of champagne. Meanwhile, the Oxford Group did a sponsored virtual climb of Mount Everest with members committing to climb to the top through walking, running, swimming, cycling and even crawling! The North Oxford Group hosted a Retro Bingo Night at The Plough at 38 in Oxford complete with a raffle and auction. Whilst the Trinity Group hosted individual events from Come Dine with Me, Baking/Selling Cookies and the grand finale a live-streamed DJ-THON!

Our members completely blew us away with their energy, commitment and enthusiasm for this challenge. All in all, they raised a whopping £11,723.14 for the charity between them – mind blowing!

After what has been a trying 18 months for most businesses it was so refreshing to all work together to support such an amazing cause and one that is so close to the hearts of the Directors of Opendoorz particularly Cathy Dunbabin:

“My granddaughter was critically as a baby and we are very lucky to have our sassy, 19 month going on 19 year old, Elsie fit and well and with us. My daughter and son-in-law couldn’t leave the hospital for the first week as Elsie’s situation was so touch and go. Eventually a room at Ronald McDonald was made available for them. This became home for over 2 weeks and gave them a space to cook, shower and sleep whilst being less than 5 minutes from Paediatric Intensive Care.”

Being part of a community that cares for and supports each other is so important to us and what we want Opendoorz to be known for. It’s those shared values that we look for when considering new members because we know that’s what makes the groups work so well as professional business networks. Yes, we do business together (lots of business actually!) but we also come together as a group to be part of and support our local community because that’s what we care about, it’s who we are and it’s the kind of world we want to live in. 

If that sounds like something you’d like to be part of, why not come along to one of our guest events?


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