Incorporating Social Responsibility initiatives into conferencing and events has become more than a nice to have.

We live in a world where it is vital for our future to be socially and environmentally responsible, not just as individuals but as organisations.

More and more, real rewards can be felt when businesses live their social responsibility values through ongoing participation and contributions.  Its quickly becoming a differentiator when companies do something relevant.   We have moved on from ticking the charity box with an ad hoc donation.  Your customers are expecting more.

Companies have the power, influence and resources to take on issues and make a real difference.

Corporate social and/or environmental responsibility allows companies to put their expertise and resources to work for the betterment of society through authentically giving back and collaborating.

From an event perspective, here are five ways your company can make a difference when planning conferences and functions.

STEP UP – DONATION REGISTRATION

For paid conferences or functions, you could incorporate a donation into the total cost of registration with a presentation to the chosen organisation as a part of the agenda.  This highlights your business’s social awareness as well as the impact made by delegates just by attending the conference/function.

FORGET THE CORPORATE GIFT

How many conferences and functions have you been to where you received a registration pack filled with items you never use or a branded gift that gathers dust till you throw it out?

Avoid the wastage and donate that amount to a charity on behalf of the delegate instead. Whether you donate it to your company’s chosen beneficiary, a charity aligned with your event or a sustainability initiative, your corporate gift contribution can make a considerable difference while also providing exposure for the cause.

CONSCIOUS TEAM BUILDING

Meaningful team building activities get everyone energised and reinvigorated proving ideal for conferences and inspiring break-out sessions. It is also a great way to contribute tangible support to a charity and really shows how your business is making a difference.

Create a list of potential projects and determine what you and your team have the time and energy to do, you can narrow down options to where you can make the most impact.

ENVIRONMENTALLY OR SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS EVENTS

With some thought, you can make an important contribution by making your next event more environmentally or socially friendly.

Paperless invitations and registration processes are virtually the norm, try adding recyclable items, décor, promotional goodies, banners and signage that could be repurposed for classrooms, school or art supplies.

BE THE CATALYST

Fundamentally people want to help. They often don’t know where to start. By sharing what your company is doing, you could be the catalyst needed for the next company to start.

Blue Velvet, being an events business with a heart for Rhino, has chosen to find ways to use our resources and expertise to contribute to the preservation of the species.

By exposing our clients and network to projects, many of our clients have started their own journeys either with Rhino, or other initiatives close to their hearts.  It has also strengthened our relationships with clients through mutual interests.

How we have done this is to include access to unique monthly conservation experiences which can be used by our clients as appreciation and incentive options.  This provides our chosen non-profit organisation, Rhino Connect, exposure to potential supporters and networks they would not have had access to.

If your business is slim on resources, focus on activities that rely on time and talent. By networking, researching and studying available needs and initiatives, you can identify potential projects where you and your company can assist.

Every non-profit is essentially a business and requires everything a regular business would use.  This includes specific skills, as well as volunteer activities outside of the company. These skills are worth their weight in gold, as it is one less expense the non-profit must fund.

You can narrow down the list of projects looking at those that relate to the core of your business, or that you feel particularly passionate about.

By working side by side with your team they see you putting your words to work, knowing you share the same beliefs for the greater good.  The benefit of this is stronger internal relationships and seeing the business beyond a paycheck.

If you’re just starting out, take baby steps.  On the upside, one of millennials’ key traits is their interest in doing work that matters, so they are usually already willing to participate in CSR projects. They may even help you shape your policies and strategy which will help integrate them into the organization.

Remember, even with baby steps, any action that helps the community, society and environment can make a difference. The important thing is to start.  By imbuing your business with the spirit of doing more than just making a profit; you’re announcing that you’re also in business to make the world a better place.

Blue Velvet Events offers a variety of conservation experiences and events in our everyday service for clients. These can easily be incorporated into conference agendas and enable the delegates to make a difference.