Whether you’re planning an in-house event or an industry event, including a philanthropic element can be an effective way to boost engagement and enjoyment. Corporate events and philanthropy are a great match. There are lots of ways to weave the two together to create something that’s satisfying for attendees, while aiding a good cause.
Corporate Events and Philanthropy Are Natural Partners
No company operates in complete isolation. They provide jobs, products, or services, and create ties to the communities in which they operate. Those ties are one reason why 70% of Americans believe companies have an obligation to improve social, non-business-related issues. Philanthropy is one way of doing that.
Many people want to give back to their communities, but they don’t know where to start. And some feel helpless because they believe their individual contribution is too small to make a difference. Corporate event philanthropy can be an effective solution because it lets people contribute in small ways. Then it combines those individual contributions into something much larger.
These two issues mean that corporate events and philanthropy are natural partners. Organizing a corporate event with a philanthropic cause can be hugely effective. It’s a way to get lots of people involved, engaged, and enthusiastic. A large corporate event can combine many individual contributions into a large donation that makes a meaningful difference. Being part of that is an wonderful morale-booster for employees, increasing their job satisfaction. It also bumps up engagement, something for which event organizers are always striving.
Of course, there are benefits for companies too. Nearly 90% of American consumers say that they’d purchase a product from a company that supports an issue they care about. When companies support philanthropic causes, it has a positive impact on their reputations and on consumer loyalty.
How to Work Philanthropy into a Corporate Event
While it’s usually the goal to work corporate event philanthropy into the event in a way that feels seamless to participants, don’t worry if it doesn’t work out that way. The benefit to your chosen charity makes it a win regardless.
Consider Company Values and Culture
When choosing philanthropic causes for your corporate event, it’s always best to consider options that mesh with the company’s values and culture. With this strategy, you’re more likely to choose something employees are enthusiastic about. If it’s an event where members of the public are involved, considering your values and culture is particularly important. Choosing a cause that doesn’t align with your business’s public reputation will likely be seen as inauthentic.
For instance, if your company sells products made from recycled plastic, environmental or conservation causes are a perfect match. You could hold a fundraiser or donate time to a local conservation group.
Add Focused Activities
For all-day team-building, conferences, or even networking days, including some philanthropic activities in the mix can bring people together. Working towards a common goal is an effective way to turn a group of strangers into a team. And making a charitable cause part of the goal can give it an even greater impact.
One popular option is a charitable 5K run or walk, where participants pay a registration fee to enter. The money collected is donated, and, in some cases, the host company or organization matches donations or adds an amount to the total collected.
Evening events such as charity auctions and gaming nights are also popular. A good cause—and a night of fun—can work as a standalone fundraising event or a social event to cap off a longer event such as a conference.
Invite Charity Reps to the Event
People enjoy giving more—and give more—when they can connect with the cause on a personal level. One way to do this is to invite representatives from the charity to attend your event in some capacity.
This could mean inviting someone to speak at the event to talk about the charity’s cause and impact and how charitable giving can make a difference. For a conference or trade show type of event, it could mean providing the charity with booth space free of charge. Attendees can then visit as they have time during the show.
Make Your Event VIPs Feel Like Just That
Make Philanthropy the Main Event
For in-house events, making philanthropy itself the core of the event can be a fun option. Instead of fundraising, for instance, put together a team of people who want to donate their time. Some options could include:
- Building a garden for a local school, shelter, or nursing home, perhaps by partnering with a local building supply store for materials at cost
- Donating labor for a local Habitat for Humanity chapter
- A mentorship program involving local young people
Look for Ways to Make a Long-Term Difference
Rather than folding philanthropy into corporate events, some companies choose to make philanthropy part of everyday company culture. Of course, this doesn’t have to be an either/or situation! Some ways to continue with corporate giving over the long term include:
- Donating services or products on a regular basis – For instance, if your company provides accounting services, find one or two local charities and offer your services, free of charge.
- Offer internships or apprenticeships to people who live locally.
- Create a scholarship or grant program, or sponsor a local school.
- Hold regular “team” days, where each team or department chooses a charity and spends a day working on a project for that charity.
Give Back: Do Good, Feel Good
Finding ways to give back to the local community benefits the company and its employees, as well as charities and the people they serve. It’s a great way to make an event feel special, while boosting engagement and employee or attendee satisfaction. Adding an element of philanthropy to your next corporate event is a gift for everyone involved.