Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Creating a long term CSR partnership for mutual value – Cisco and Comic Relief

March 10, 2015


It’s that time again…Cisco UK is turning red in the build up to Red Nose Day 2015. But this is so much more than a once a year fundraising effort. Cisco and Comic Relief have a many faceted partnership going back well over 15 years. The partnership is led by Phil Smith, CEO Cisco UK & Ireland and the CEO of Comic Relief, Kevin Cahill. Three years ago Phil even convinced Kevin to take part in a triathlon as part of the Cisco CEO Leaderboard Challenge which raised over £250,000 for Sport Relief.

Employee Engagement and Fundraising

Comic Relief is Cisco UK’s single biggest fundraising event of the year. We aim to bring employees together as a community to raise money through organising, participating or supporting the common cause of improving the lives of those worst off in the UK and Africa. Given that Cisco is a global organisation and many teams work virtually, Comic Relief is a great opportunity for employees to get together to raise money for a cause they feel passionate about.

Cisco volunteers organised the top employee fundraiser event for Sport Relief 2014, the Green Park Triathlon. Over the years of our relationship we have raised well over £1M.

Cisco provides funds to support employees organising events. For every hour that the employees volunteer Comic Relief get $10 from the Cisco Foundation.  The Foundation will also match donations of over $50 made by employees.



Cisco is a long term Technology Partner to Comic Relief providing both thought leadership and Cisco technology. Cisco and the other Comic Relief technology partners make it possible for Comic Relief to collect millions of pounds through public donations, via the web and call centres, in just a few hours.

We provide people and equipment to enable the network technology for the donation platform.

Cisco provide
• A project manager who leads the engagement throughout the year
• A technical expert on site during the evening of the event ensuring 100% uptime.
• The backup of the Cisco Technical Operations Centre (TAC) which supports the event with a follow the sun model ensuring subject matter experts are on hand wherever they are in the world should any issues be encountered.
• Donations of equipment and support as needed to support the critical platform.

What Do Comic Relief bring to the Partnership?

The Comic Relief brand looms large across the UK with the TV programming and press build up creating a presence that few can miss. Comic Relief awarded Cisco technology partner status and provides web and press support including mentions with the other technology partners on Red Nose Day. The team at Comic Relief also help bring in talent to help drive the day internally. We utilise on screen thank yous from everyone from Billy Connolly to Gary Lineker. For our internal TV spectacular we have had help from David Garrido, a Sky News presenter and this year from David Morgan, comedian. The Cisco and Comic Relief partnership was recognised as the Partnership of the Year in the Business Community Awards 2014.

But the most important part, in many ways was the opportunity for amazing Cisco fundraisers to visit a Comic Relief funded project with Croydon MIND. A keen group from Cisco joined in a football game with the group who are using sport and fitness to help them with challenges with mental illness. It was a great opportunity to connect with the people benefiting from the money raised by Comic Relief in a fun environment.

So, yes, we’re turning the workplace red for a day (or two!) of doing something funny for money to help change the lives of people who need our help but also we’re trying to build a community behind a common cause in a very virtual work place.

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