For several years now, charitable giving has been an important part of our organisational culture here at Tisski, with donations made to worthy causes on a monthly basis and a willingness to support employees when they embark on fundraisers, sponsored activities or other such things.
We share monthly updates on our chosen charity of the month, but where did it all begin and why does charity form such a big part of the organisation we are? We caught up with our CEO, Anna Assassa, to find out more.
As a successful businesswoman, Anna has grown Tisski from a small business comprising less than 20 team members to a Microsoft Gold Partner organisation surpassing the 100-employee mark and continuing to grow from there, even through a global pandemic.
With success came Anna’s passion for supporting charities - and not only those who mattered to her, but those who mattered to her team, too.
In 2017, we kickstarted our charity initiative, donating £1,000 a month to a charity of an employees’ choosing; the longest serving member of the Tisski team would choose a cause, and this has been in place ever since, with the donation upped to £2,000 in 2018.
“With this initiative, I wanted the team to have a say,” Anna explained. “I didn’t just want it to be charities I wanted to give to because, ultimately, it’s our employees’ hard work that enables Tisski to make a profit. As well as regular donations, employees may come forward with suggestions if there’s a cause which is perhaps relevant to them at a certain point in time.
“The fantastic thing about donating in this way is discovering charities which we may not have even heard of before and hearing the stories behind why our employees pick the causes they do.”
With the recent introduction of the charity sabbatical, Anna is ensuring that Tisski is giving back in more ways than one. From November 2020, employees can apply for up to three months off work for the purpose of volunteering and successful applicants will receive their full salary while doing so.
Speaking of the charity sabbatical offering, Anna said: “When you’re in profit, donating money almost seems too easy. We wanted to give back in a way that was potentially even more meaningful, and to offer members of the Tisski team the opportunity to give something back themselves.
“I think the perception of companies in our sector can be that we’re all about the profit but there are tech companies out there trying to do a lot of good stuff – being one of those is incredibly important to me and as an organisation, we’re very proud of our charitable nature.”
Aside from actively donating money and time, charitable nature is something that is very much embedded in Tisski as an organisation and this is something Anna very much wants to remain the case as the company expands.
“We always try and hire people with similar values to Tisski - people who are honest, enjoy collaborating with others and are supportive in nature… I think these values tie in very closely with charitable giving,” Anna said.
“I think people today – and particularly young people in the world – have that appreciation and understanding that the world is about making it better for everybody and not just looking out for number one.
“In the ‘80s, people talked about winning at life, being the money in your bank account… that’s a very hollow existence, so for me, being able to support charities is so important. It’s about trying to make the world a better place and making yourself better along the way.”