How to Integrate CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) into Meetings

Do you have an upcoming incentive travel program or meeting where Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) could be incorporated? Here are some common questions and answers to kickstart your business event planning.

Should I partner with a local DMC for our CSR element?

Local DMCs are indeed a viable option when looking to incorporate a CSR element into a destination event as they will likely provide you with all of the supplies you need locally and avoid the possible international shipping costs. However, be cognizant and do your research to ensure the opportunities they provide you with appear relevant to the destination and situation.

Oftentimes local DMCs look for the easy team-builder option for groups rather than researching and determining a genuine need in the community. This can result in a lower ‘return on emotion’ for the attendees because they are not able to connect and see the direct value in the time they are contributing. The more impactful efforts strive to provide personalized gifts with handwritten letters to the recipients of the goods or having the recipients present at the event to tell their story.

Donation of flowers for corporate social responsibility on incentive travel program
How do I make CSR more meaningful and engage more participants?

The golden rule is to do your research. It is imperative to research the values and passions of the client. Start with the backbone of the company and move from there. Learn what the company leadership’s core values are and what it currently stands for, supports and recognizes as a need to contribute to as a company whether it be veterans, children, homeless, hunger, STEM, etc. Be cautious if polling individual attendees and their preferences as it then becomes an individual social responsibility instead of a corporate social responsibility.

The impact of having c-suite buy-in can be significant by having the company CEO provide a short speech at the CSR event onsite explaining why they are doing this as a company and what impact it will have. Employees often will relate to a story given by the executive, and the overall return on emotion grows.

How long does my CSR event need to be?

The average CSR element can be anywhere from one to two hours long. Your pre-event research should also include how ‘hands-on’ the executives want the event to be. Do you foresee your attendees wanting to do hard labor or would they prefer an assembly line packing supply kits? These are questions that will guide you further in what type of CSR element to incorporate and how much time should be allocated.

Sometimes it is easiest to have the CSR event available for attendees to come and go during their day at leisure. This will allow the attendees to make the personal decision to contribute to the cause or enjoy their awarded time on the beach. In most cases, the attendee engagement actually increases as they do not feel pressured or obligated to participate.

How do I begin incorporating CSR elements in my client’s budget?

Some of the stigmas against incorporating CSR is it is too expensive, or it takes up too much time. To mitigate these stigmas, begin asking the question, “Have you considered doing something positive in 60-120 minutes at your [meeting, incentive trip, conference]?” into the sourcing and proposal phases of a program. It’s often easier to sell something like this on the front end as opposed to throwing it in as an afterthought in operations. The average cost of a CSR element could range from $45 – 100 per person, which could simply replace one of your nightly room gifts during the program.

Head over to our Events Page for more details on how we can bring bright ideas to your next meeting.

Allie Greenwood

Author Allie Greenwood

Senior Program Specialist | Expertise in European travel and intrigued by social media and its influence on the meetings and incentives industries.

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