When it comes to meeting and event trends, I can’t think of anything more inspiring than Corporate Responsibility Programs. Whether building affordable housing, helping out at local animal shelters, beautifying public parks or donating school supplies to underprivileged children, volunteer service activities during conferences are on the rise as more companies and organizations recognize that giving back offers myriad rewards.
Besides benefiting the people or organizations on the receiving end, CSR projects enhance the meeting experience by increasing attendee satisfaction levels, creating strong bonds among colleagues and employees and enforcing the power of a meeting in the destination.
And as community service during meetings continue to grow in popularity, more Convention and Visitors Bureaus are providing planners with CSR assistance, from basic to hands-on services. So if you’re ready to make giving back a key part of your annual event, here are some quick tips to help make your CSR projects more of a win-win:
Pinpoint Your Group’s Interests: pick an activity that your attendees will emotionally connect with, find fun and engaging. For example, would they be more excited about helping children, animals or the homeless, or would they prefer a physical experience, such as planting a tree? As the destination experts, CVB representatives will know all about the various volunteer projects in their community and can help connect you with the most suitable organization for your group.
Know What You Want to Achieve: once you understand your CSR goals, pick a project that will help you meet those objectives. Decide whether you’d rather work with a local or a national organization, which might make more sense if you rotate your events. Make sure the volunteer organization understands what you’ll be offering, including the number of attendees participating and the amount of time you’ll be donating.
Match Activities and Abilities: gage your attendees’ skill levels and select an activity that suits their capabilities rather than choosing something they might find too difficult or frustrating. Since the CVB will have a much better idea about what certain projects entail, make sure to lean on them for their knowledge and expertise.
Get the Word Out: just as you would with a meeting or event, pre-promote your CSR activity well in advance so attendees can learn about it and get jazzed up about participating. The more people who know about your community service project, the more likely it will be successful.
Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor: although CSR events are great opportunities for networking, most attendees just want to work hard and enjoy the results. Take lots of photos and videos to show off during the conference and follow-up later with participants. Who wouldn’t love to see pictures of the family that moved into the house your group helped build?
I’ll bet that once your group experiences the amazing satisfaction that comes from community service, CSR won’t just be something you do once and never again – it will be something your attendees will look forward to year after year. And with the expert guidance and support of the local CVB, you’ll be on your way to building a successful CSR program destined to be a win-win for everyone – your attendees, the destination, your organization and you!