The Next Level in CSR - 4 Refreshing Ideas
CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities have, of course, become mainstream in today’s meetings and events. The challenge for planners now is to offer CSR activities that are new, exciting and refreshing for participants.
Here’s a look at four inspiring CSR programs that may spark some ideas for your next event.
Build-a-Hand Now Comes in a Kit
Odyssey Teams (www.odysseyteams.com) launched its successful Build-a-Hand program several years ago, in which Odyssey staff guided groups in assembling prosthetic hands that were donated to amputees in third-world countries. The only problem with the program was that it was out-of-reach for some organizations with smaller budgets.
To address that concern, Odyssey has introduced the Build-a-Hand Kit, a do-it-yourself version that groups can complete on their own. Each kit includes a step-by-step guide to each portion of the program, the components for 10 hands, team-building videos and carrying cases for the completed hands.
The Odyssey team recommends that a team of two or three people assemble one hand. With the curriculum, video and teambuilding activities, the process takes about three hours.
Keeping Hawaii Beautiful
When you take your group to Hawaii, the last thing you want to do is shut them in a windowless meeting room while they do a CSR activity. The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau has a better idea. They’ve developed a new program that links visiting groups with meaningful volunteer service projects that contribute to the beauty and sustainability of Hawaii’s environment.
These projects get people into the community working side-by-side with local volunteers, doing things like maintaining public gardens, planting fields at a community farm and removing debris from beaches. There are opportunities for groups of 50, as well as smaller groups.
The HVCV program includes options on the islands of Oahu, Kauai, the Big Island and Maui. For a complete listing of offerings, go to www.businessaloha.com, click on “Meetings” and fill out the information request form.
When 150 meeting planners packed their bags for a Las Vegas fam trip, they made sure they had a pair of painting pants included. The trip was hosted by Las Vegas Meetings by Harrah’s Entertainment (http://www.harrahs.com/groups-meetings/las-vegas/why-meetings-by-harrahs...), who decided to put the planners to work cleaning and painting houses at St. Jude’s Ranch (www.stjudesranch.org) for Children, about a 30-minute drive from the Strip.
The mission of St. Jude’s (not affiliated with the hospital) is to provide a safe, homelike environment for local abused, abandoned and neglected children and families. One of the most important features of the ranch is their ability to keep large sibling groups together when they might be otherwise separated and scattered among several facilities in foster care.
The planners were joined by about 100 Harrah’s employees in the sales and convention services departments. After a hearty breakfast, which included a “paint jam” performed by Dan Dunn, they piled into charter buses and rode to the ranch, where they donned painting T-shirts and bandanas and got to work. Planners who weren’t able to do the actual painting for health or other reasons contributed by having play time with the kids. The activity was so successful that a second fam group will return to the ranch in November—this time for landscaping duties.
“Volunteering at St. Jude’s Ranch was the best part of the weekend,” said event attendee Jeaneath Starke, events coordinator with the Crisis Prevention Institute in Milwaukee, WI.
Puttin’ on the CSR
You’re used to being pampered at Ritz Carlton (www.ritzcarlton.com) properties, but they take it a step further by organizing CSR activities, relieving planners of having to find local projects in an unfamiliar city. The program is called VolunTeaming®, and it involves half and full-day projects ranging from harvesting organic crops for donation to a local food bank to painting murals at a local Boys and Girls Club.
For groups with limited time, two-hour on-property programs are available, including bike building, assembling bookshelves and creating housewarming gifts for new Habitat for Humanity homeowners.