However the Bush2 Dealer 6000 event has revealed a need for wider-ranging promotion of the charity at all levels of the motor retail sector, as the organisers discovered many dealership staff had no idea what BEN represents.
“The vast majority of dealer staff were not aware of BEN, which, although we were aware of this as it was an image-raising event too, meant that donations were lower than we hoped,” says David Bush, partner in the Bush2 automotive consultancy, which organised the project. “The second issue was that where staff were aware, half of them were already contributing to BEN through payroll deduction, although many were still happy to add a little more.”
Nevertheless, Bush says donations have amounted to “tens of thousands of pounds”, although the exact figure won’t be announced until the BEN ball on December 8.
For the event, 17 teams in MG Rover cars were set the target of visiting the UK’s entire franchised network – almost 6,000 sites – in just six days. Sales and aftersales staff at each site received gift packs supplied by the project’s sponsors, and were invited to make donations in return.
Bush says the event has been a huge learning process, and he will be hoping to beat this year’s results in a repeat run next year.