“I think the sky’s the limit”: Funky Pigeon on raising £250K and what’s next for our partnership

Cancer Research UK

Since 2017, we’ve worked in partnership with Funky Pigeon – a household name for online cards, gifts and all things personalised – to raise funds for our life-saving research. In the last four years, they’ve raised an amazing £250k for CRUK through their pennies in the basket scheme, which allows customers to donate a few pence with their online order. To celebrate this fantastic milestone, we spoke to Funky Pigeon’s founder and managing director, Richard Pepper, to hear about social responsibility and the exciting future of our partnership.   

What does social responsibility mean to you?  

I think all businesses need to have some form of social responsibility. All businesses take from society so it’s important to be giving something back too. For us, it’s not just about supporting charities like CRUK, but looking at the paper we buy and the way we operate – we do a lot of work to make things as sustainable as possible.  

Why did Funky Pigeon choose to partner with us?  

When we had our third son, my wife had breast cancer. That was 34 years ago and I’m pleased to say she’s now very healthy. I think most people know someone close to them who has experienced cancer and, for me, Cancer Research UK is the number one charity to support because I think you’re going to come up with a cure one day.  

£250,000 raised is a fantastic achievement, what do you think has made our partnership so successful?  

It was actually our parent company WHSmith that first engaged with CRUK and asked if we could do something at Funky Pigeon. I was first approached about pennies in the basket. We’re selling to families, children buying for their parents and people buying for their partners. This is an easy way for us to help them support our partnership. We’re hugely proud that we’ve raised £250,000 and it’s going up all the time. But we want to do more, and we think we can do more.  

For me, Cancer Research UK is the number one charity to support because I think you’re going to come up with a cure one day.  

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected Funky Pigeon?  

It’s definitely been a challenge, but the team at Funky Pigeon are amazing. They love what they do and have worked tirelessly to get things sorted so that we’re now in a position to launch a new range of cards for CRUK, which we’re really excited about! 

Can you tell us more about how Funky Pigeon are developing new ways for customers to support our work? 

To start with, we’re going to launch a range of 24 cards, including birthday cards and sympathy cards, as well as mindfulness and ‘thinking of you’ cards for anyone affected by cancer. The great thing about this range is that we’re going to give 30% of the revenue to CRUK. Further down the line, we’re going to bring in an accompanying range of gifts including keyrings, notebooks, mugs and coasters. For those gifts we’re going to give 20% of the revenue to CRUK.  

What are your hopes for the future of CRUK and more particularly the future of the partnership?  

I hope that this partnership continues for a long time. I think the sky’s the limit and we can grow together. We might have raised £250,000, but in the next two to three years I’d like to see that hit £1m – that would be a great number to achieve.  We’re an innovative company coming up with ideas all the time. We’ll be looking for more ways we can work together to raise more funds so that you can carry on doing the amazing work that you do.  

A huge thank you to the staff and customers of Funky Pigeon for their continued support! 

Edward Bowers is senior partnership relations executive at Cancer Research UK 

Find out more about partnerships at Cancer Research UK