Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become increasingly important to businesses large and small, across many different industries.
Customers expect companies to give back to the communities they serve, by donating time and money to social, environmental, and economic causes—and savvy businesses have heard this message loud and clear.
One of the best ways for companies to launch a CSR campaign is by hosting a charitable event. But this must be done thoughtfully, with plenty of preparation and organization. EventMobi has helped many businesses hold successful CSR events, and we’ve put together some of the best tips for companies looking to take a big step toward social change.
CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility. It refers to the obligation corporations have to provide non-profit-oriented support to their local and global communities. CSR programs are typically focused on social, environmental, or economic issues.
For example, many airlines run CSR campaigns meant to offset the carbon emissions that result from air travel. Other companies will partner with non-profit organizations, running fundraisers on their behalf or offering pro-bono services.
Why Blend Corporate Social Responsibility And Events?
The primary motivation behind any CSR event or program should be a genuine desire to serve the larger community—in short, companies should hold CSR campaigns because it’s simply the right thing to do.
There are a few added bonuses that come with a successful corporate social responsibility initiative as well:
Improved brand image and recognition
As with any event or marketing campaign, you will spend time promoting your CSR initiative through PR, social media, email marketing and other channels.
The buzz you generate around such an event can have a big, positive impact on how the public sees your business overall. This reputation boost can last long after your CSR event has come to a close.
Increased employee engagement and satisfaction
It’s not just the wider public that will benefit from a CSR campaign—your own employees will likely gain something from it as well. Give them the chance to participate in the event, and allow them to provide input on which charitable organizations you’ll partner with. They will appreciate the opportunity to do something meaningful and impactful, and bond with their colleagues during the experience.
One thing to bear in mind—while it’s a good idea to involve your employees in your CSR campaign, make sure that it doesn’t end up being extra work for them. Give them time during their normal working hours to dedicate to the campaign, without expecting them to put in extra hours.
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New networking and customer relationship opportunities
Though the focus of your CSR event shouldn’t be on sales, you’ll still likely find that hosting a socially responsible gathering brings new opportunities and strengthens relationships with existing customers or clients.
This is why it’s so important to include your existing audience in your CSR programs. Give them the opportunity to attend your event or donate on behalf of the cause (and perhaps agree to match their donations if you’re able).
CSR Event Examples from EventMobi
Cisco teams up with Stop Hunger Now
As part of its CSR program, Cisco helped the charity Stop Hunger Now package more than 100,000 meals for the hungry during its Cisco Live Event in 2015. The following year, the company held the activation again, determined to break its previous record. In addition to assembling meals, the company gave attendees the opportunity to build hygiene kits for the impoverished through the nonprofit Clean The World. The kits were distributed to those in need in the Las Vegas area where the CSR event was held.
Oracle OpenWorld holds a sustainable-first CSR event
Oracle OpenWorld is on a mission “to host the most sustainable conference in the world.”
The Sustainable Event Report, which the firm issued based on its 2015 conference, outlined several goals for the event: promote zero waste to landfill from the conference by 2018, reduce 2012 onsite emissions by 50% by 2018, give back to local charities, and inspire attendees to adopt their own CSR postures. OpenWorld follows a process outlined by ISO 20121: 2012 Event Sustainability Management Systems.
SalesForce holds an event to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic
Dreamforce, the mega-annual conference of Salesforce.com, raised $3 million for (RED) to help end AIDS forever and another $10 million for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Attendees packed 2,000 early STEM education kits, assembled 2,000 Food=Medicine bags for Project Open Hand, and helped young female entrepreneurs launch a lemonade stand on Salesforce.
Organizers also asked participants to join the #PledgeitForward giving movement; invited local students to code, make, and tour the campus; and aided by employees calling themselves the Green Angels, showed attendees how to sort food waste and conserve water.
Corporate Social Responsibility At Events Will Grow
Government and private citizens can only do so much. Corporations, bolstered by the many economic and feel-good benefits, have the incentive and the motivation to implement CSR programs and extend them through their conferences and events. The event industry has long supported green meetings and CSR opportunities and with the incoming millennial population, it will likely do even more to push the CSR envelope. At the end of the day, corporate event marketers realize that doing good is good business, but it also just feels good.
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