#StrongerTogether with Claire Hanrahan, BT Ireland Volunteer

BT is part of the Business Impact Map and the #strongertogether campaign. The interactive map launched last week showcases what companies are doing for their local communities across the country and also shows the collective impact of the network. As we unveil the impact achieved by the participating companies in 2017 we take the opportunity to hear from the volunteers that make this impact a reality.

Claire Hanrahan is a Plan and Build Manager at BT, as part of the #StrongerTogether campaign, Claire shares her experience and thoughts on volunteering.

Tell us about your volunteering experience…

I take part in 2 major volunteering events each year: BTYSTE and Shop for Change.  My role in BTYSTE is head Panel Secretary where I lead a team of BT volunteers who work with the judges to ensure the judging process runs smoothly. 

On Shop for Change I have captained a team for the last 2 years where we collected and sold stock in the Swords and Drogheda shops and also tried to be innovative in our thinking to raise additional funds for these shops via raffles, office book sales, bag packing and anything that will generate more money or sales. 

 Why did you decide to take part and volunteer?

I have been volunteering at BTYSTE (previously Young Scientist) since 1999 (when I was 12!!).  When I first signed up for it my manager at the time told me it would be a bit of craic and a break from the office.  They were correct on both counts but what I also found was that I was completely in awe of the participating students and completely inspired by them.  I went back to work with a renewed sense of energy. 

I signed up for Shop for Change because I thought it would be a bit of fun and a chance to try something new.  What’s kept me coming back each year is that it’s hard to find a family that hasn’t been touched in some way by cancer and being able to come together with colleagues and make a big difference to the Irish Cancer Society and the services they provide I don’t think there is any better justification.

What did you enjoy from the experience?

Each year the BTYSTE continues to be awe inspiring and leaves me with a renewed sense of energy once I get over the exhaustion!  We also get to work with and build relationships and friendships with colleagues that we wouldn’t normally meet in our day job and when we do cross paths in work it is easier to work together.  We have a small core team at BTYSTE who head up the different areas but through supporting each other, communicating clearly, bringing a can do attitude and having fun in the process we can put on an amazing show.

Shop for Change is awe inspiring for different reasons we see that if we forget about rules and just focus on raising money by any (legal) means anything is possible.  To go to a shop that normally brings in €500 in a day and walk away after putting 6 or 7 times that amount through the till is amazing.  Then to get the opportunity to hear from the people who can provide a service because of that money and how they help people live and die with cancer in the most dignified way it just pushes you to break the previous records.

What would you say to a colleague who hasn’t volunteered before to encourage him/her to give it a go?

You really don’t know what you are missing.  Everyone gets something different out of volunteering and you never know what is around the corner for you in your own life so having an opportunity to give something back to a cause that is close to your heart is a privilege. 

How important is it to you that the company you work for shares your values and facilitates you to undertake volunteering activities as part of your role?

I think it’s vital.  As I’ve already said no one knows what is around the corner so you never know when you will need to call on some of the services that can only be provided because of volunteer work.  Feeling like you’ve helped keep those services running can only leave you feeling proud.

Visit the Business Impact Map to see the impact that BT employees have made in 2017.



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