Corporate Social Responsibility + Event Portfolios
Connecting a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) program to your event is a great way to engage attendees in something that makes them feel good, build positive brand goodwill, and contribute to a worthy cause. Here’s how to get started with an event CSR program:
Identify Existing CSR Initiatives. Before you begin planning your event, determine if your company already has an existing event CSR program. If so, brainstorm with your company’s CSR lead on ways to extend current initiatives into your event plans. You may also be able to secure funding from the CSR budget – leaving your budget intact for the rest of your event.
If your company doesn’t formally support a cause or charity, you have the opportunity to create a new program. Successful CSR programs are unique to a company’s culture and aligned with their corporate values. It’s a good idea to ask around and see if there are any particular causes near and dear to your organization. Alternatively, investigate charities or initiatives local to the event destination. Often there are smaller and less well-known organizations that could benefit greatly from your efforts.
Depending on the size of your organization and before moving ahead with your plans, you may need to get senior management’s approval.
Plan a Team-Building Service Project. One quick and easy way event attendees can give back is to create kits or bags for charities, like children’s hospitals, local after-school clubs or shelters. Team-building service projects don’t require a huge commitment from attendees and serve the double-purpose of networking.
For example, instead of a traditional networking reception, have attendees mix and mingle as they place crayons, Play-Doh, markers, scissors and other school supplies into backpacks. Or ask attendees to pack shampoo, soap, toothpaste and personal toiletries in small kits that will be donated to shelters. (Check out our WIE bag build with Dress for Success!)
For the best outcome, think about an activity that is both meaningful and motivating for attendees. Done right, there’s no better way to build relationships and foster team camaraderie than working together for a good cause.
Take a Road Trip. Attendees often spend most of their time at events stuck inside a conference center or moving from one ballroom to another. Therefore, they appreciate when you plan an event CSR program activity that takes them out of the venue and into the local community.
For example, you could take the team-building service activity a step further. Go on a short road trip and have the group drop the packed donated goods off at the school, hospital or shelter. Or spend an afternoon outdoors working as a team to give a local playground or park a little TLC.
It’s amazing how much a group can accomplish in just a few short hours. From painting to planting or building a playground, event attendees will appreciate the opportunity to get physical and activate their creativity.
Keep the Goodwill Going. After the event is over, keep the good will going to demonstrate that your organization truly cares about giving back:
- Use ongoing communications to keep attendees up-to-date about other opportunities to support the cause.
- Explain how donations are being used.
- Share updates and pictures from work that was performed.
- Remind attendees of additional ways to give back throughout the year.
Beyond the opportunity to do good, adding CSR activities to your event enhances the attendee experience, creates loyalty and boosts engagement.
Posted by Kristy Elisano | Request as a Speaker
Caffeine dependent Jersey girl. Inspired by creative risk takers and underdogs. Chief Marketing Officer, Doodle owner and lover of all things chocolate.