Community involvement isn’t the first thing most businesses think about when planning events. After all, business events tend to be about the business, right? But there are good arguments to make for also including a segment of outreach and volunteer projects with a focus on local needs. Here’s how it can help you.
When people speak about community goodwill they often speak in abstract terms of how helping out the community can improve a company’s public appearance, draw the attention of locally-minded customers, and so on. But when it comes to events, creating community goodwill through volunteering can even more tangible advantages. It can, for example, lead to useful discounts (for facilities and other services), help encourage future joint ventures with community organizations, and strike immediate at-event conversations about the company’s place in the community and what it can do locally to make a different. Both tangible and intangible benefits apply when a business uses an event to get involved locally.
This is a commonly cited benefit, but it’s also a tricky one. Yes, some types of community involvement can help with teamwork. But it’s difficult to focus on both what would be best for the local community where the event is held and what activities would be best for teambuilding in your particular situation. It’s often best to pick one focus rather than trying to do both. Teambuilding exercises require very careful planning and not all volunteer projects are suitable. When done correctly, however, everyone wins and employees head back to work with a renewed sense of connection.
Eco-Friendly Event Options Hit Two Birds
Not sure where to begin when reaching out to local city? Plan for an eco-friendly event. There’s a lot to these “green” events, such as picking sustainable suppliers, working with eco-friendly venue locations, using recycling options and so on – but they all tend to leave the community and venue with a better opinion of the company, which works in your favor. If you just don’t have enough time to include direct community involvement at your event, think about going the sustainable route as an alternative.
More Sponsorship Options
Sponsors prefer to work with companies that they feel will fairly represent sponsor positions and attract the right sort of attendees. By putting more focus on community projects, you can help reach out to a new segment of sponsors – specifically, nonprofits and local businesses with a vested interest in city improvement. If forming connections with these types of sponsors and co-presenters has been a goal of yours, these projects can help you get much closer.
Gamification Options Hold Interest
Gamification is another tricky word, one that can create as many groans as good results. But there are options for gamifying volunteer work to make it a more integral part of your event – and combining teambuilding exercises in more effective ways. For example, there are some team exercises that use food in competitions that can then be donated to local food banks. More complex programs even have teams compete to earn revenue that will be donated to the charities each team stands for, or cooking classes that teach skills while cooking for the hungry in your community.
Long-Term Brand Identity and Differentiation
One volunteer project is a twist on the traditional corporate event. Two volunteer projects begin to define your company and brand. If you really want to make community involvement a focus for your business, then make them a regular activity. This is an excellent way to add to your current brand perception while differentiating from competitors in ways that, these days, matter more and more.
For more information about what volunteer or community activities would work best for your brand, reach out to McVeigh Global Meetings and Events!