A popular catch phrase these days in our industry is Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR. Even those organizations that are not corporate sometimes use the same acronym. It means the same thing: giving back or making a contribution or offering a helping hand. In essence, CSR is one way a company, or a meeting, can pay it forward.
It's becoming more common for conferences these days to have a CSR element. Sometimes it's involved, requiring both attendee and staff participation, like working a food bank in the host city. Sometimes it's simple, such as asking attendees to bring down the tiny shampoo from the hotel room, which will be donated to a homeless shelter.
Some consider a green meeting a form of CSR. You may not be giving back to a specific charity, but you're doing your part to give back to the environment. It may be the destination of your meeting that directs the kind of CSR you plan or it may be something your organization chooses based on its mission, goals and purpose.
Some companies pick one or two charitable groups to be the long-term recipient of the good act while others try to spread the wealth by choosing several organizations, maybe one a month or one a year or even one per conference.
It's not hard to get a CSR program started at your meetings. You can allow attendees to contribute a monetary donation when they register for the conference. You can ask attendees to drop off a donation of money or goods onsite. You can coordinate a silent auction, with the proceeds going to the charity. There are lots of options out there.
Not only to CSR programs help grow goodwill with your company, meeting, and attendees, but it's the right thing to do. Whatever you do, do it with purpose and make a real effort to make a difference. That's the entire point of CSR.
Hows does YOUR meeting effect CSR?
Image credit: CSRWestAfrica