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Socially Smart – 5 Ways to Make CSR Part of Your Next Event

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In today’s day and age of staffing shortages and low employee retention, events can have a powerful impact. Hiring and HR trends show that 93% of employees believe companies should “lead with purpose,” and another 90% of employees who work for purpose-driven companies are more inspired, motivated, and loyal.
So, how can you strengthen your internal teams and relationships? One of the best strategies is incorporating Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) into your next company event. Here are a few of VIBE’s favorite ideas to get you started:

Take a Walk (or Run, or Dance, or Bike Ride)

Whether you decide to participate in a pre-existing race, dance-a-thon, or organize your own, movement-for-charity events are typically simple to manage and easily accommodate a wide variety of people.
Bring your team together to discuss a charity or non-profit organization to support, and then create a fundraising opportunity that’s connected to your business. You could collect pledges for distance or hours completed by each team member.
If you choose to create your event, select a charity partner, then find a location to hold your event. Public parks and recreation facilities are excellent choices for this since they are usually very budget-friendly. Be sure to allow at least three to six months of planning for the best selection of available dates and times to promote your event.
Casual practice or training sessions for longer distances or more physical events can also serve as mini team-building events as you prepare for the big day.

a woman painting

Get Artistic

Art in public places has become a popular trend in communities and cities all over the globe. For the cost of some paint, creativity, and a little work, a mural can beautify a space and become a source of pride for all who live, work, or visit an area. When companies decide to sponsor and participate in such projects, they also receive the benefit of leaving a lasting impression on thousands of people who may pass the mural in its lifetime.
There are a couple of ways to get started with a mural project.

  1. If your building or property has a large, public-facing wall, you can be your canvas. Check with local community associations as applicable to be sure a mural is allowed, then either hire an artist to come up with a design or leverage the creative strengths of your team.
  2. Contact your local government to propose a mural for a publicly owned space, such as a highway overpass, mass transit station, park wall, school, or event utility pole. Some cities and towns may already have an art-in-public-places department.
  3. If an indoor project sounds more appealing to your team, you can also contact other property owners and organizations such as hospitals, places of worship, animal services groups, or farmer’s markets. 
a backpack

Pack it In for Kids

Education is always a popular CSR activity because it involves giving back to kids, teachers, and families. Making sure kids have the supplies or resources they need to learn and grow improves the whole community for generations to come – and all it takes is a little time and generosity from your team and the surrounding neighborhood.
Contact a local school or school system to see what supplies are most needed. You can then work to collect these items from team donations or know if you can find other local partners or businesses that want to sponsor certain items or a certain number of backpacks for a set dollar amount.
An innovative twist on this idea is a vacation or summer lunch program through an organization like No Kid Hungry to sponsor or help assemble meal packs for kids and families who might otherwise rely on free and reduced lunch programs at local schools to keep kids fed. When school isn’t in session, these families lose a valuable resource, and a food backpack program can help cover the loss.

people building a bike

Build a Bike

A bicycle is more than just a fun piece of outdoor equipment. For some kids, it’s also school transportation, a way to stay healthy, and a sense of freedom and independence for older kids. Unfortunately, bikes are too expensive for many families to work into their household budgets.
Your company can bring this CSR initiative to life by purchasing or working to get donations of bikes from local toy shops or athletic stores and then hosting an event to assemble the bikes. A secondary or same-day event would involve loading the bikes onto trucks or vans and delivering them to needy children. Local community centers and food banks can be good places to source recipients, and low-income or government-subsidized housing may be another.

Step up for Style

The custom sneaker craze is a great CSR activity for engaging your team’s creative side and providing much-needed footwear for people in your local area or developing countries in Africa, Asia, and South America.
Search for local and national organizations like ShoesWithHeart, or Soles4Souls, to explore opportunities to provide new shoes worldwide. Or, look into organizations like SneakerImpact to easily collect and recycle lightly worn athletic shoes to reduce waste and provide footwear to those in need.

Dress for Success

This CSR initiative has become a corporate favorite of the past few decades because it directly impacts the local business community. Suits, dress shoes, and other professional attire are expensive, but the cost of making a good first impression can be priceless.
By hosting a donation drive for gently used or like-new professional clothing, your business can help dozens or even hundreds of people get the jobs they need to make a difference in their careers, families, and neighborhoods. Don’t be afraid to have some fun with this event. You can organize a “dress-down” or “pajama day” event where attendees go super casual as they bring in their donations. Or, you can host “Comfy Fridays” at work, where employees can wear sweatpants, yoga pants, and their other comfiest apparel when they donate $30 or more towards Dress for Success efforts.

As you’re incorporating CSR into your events, ensure you’re taking advantage of public relations opportunities on your company’s social media channels and by reaching out to local media to create additional buzz. At VIBE, we can assist with everything from charity selection to digital donation platforms, PR messaging, and more.  

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