The past few years have brought us a lot of ups and downs, especially in the event industry. The requirements of our industry seem to be ever evolving at a lightning fast rate.
As we fully emerged out of the global pandemic, free of fears of another shutdown, life seemed to go somewhat back to normal. We celebrated, we gathered, in person, many for the first time in years.
As the year 2023 progressed, Canada headed towards a massive uptick in inflation. In June, the Canadian economy, grappling with the economic impacts of COVID-19, labour shortages, supply chain disruptions, and the looming threat of a recession, experienced its highest inflation rate in almost 40 years. Basic items such as groceries, rent and gas have skyrocketed and become unaffordable for many. Families with young children, who are at the most expensive junction of their lives, are especially struggling.
With these conditions in place, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has taken on a new role. Before the pandemic, CSR focused more on global issues such as climate change, adherence to diversity and inclusion and international initiatives that built a socially responsible corporate image. Fast forward a few years and the face of CSR has changed significantly. Companies are more focused on giving back to their immediate communities and to their employees.
The CSR trend towards local charitable initiatives opens a new door for the event industry, because we can provide programming that is both meaningful from a corporate social responsibility lens while at the same time helping to increase employee engagement.
By incorporating acts of goodwill into their company events, corporations can give new and deeper meaning to their employee engagement initiatives. In a shift towards infusing corporate social responsibility into their events, companies are choosing to make a meaningful impact by organizing charity-driven activities such as bike building and shelter kit assembly as a central part of their gatherings.
By weaving philanthropic activities into their celebrations, companies are fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among their employees while extending a helping hand to those in need. Some notable highlights of these charity-driven team building events include:
- Bike Building: Companies are organizing bike-building workshops where employees gather to assemble bicycles for children to help reduce the burden to families in need.
- Shelter Kit Assembly: Assembling shelter kits is another popular initiative. Employees come together to pack essential items such as blankets, and hygiene supplies to be dispatched to shelters.
- Build a Bear: Companies are setting up stations at their events where employees can use their creative skills to build a stuffed animal for a child in the hospital.
- Toy Drives with Gift Wrapping Stations: Companies will buy large quantities of toys for donation and set up gift wrapping stations at employee events.
Participation in these activities brings positive outcomes for all parties. Employees are excited to participate, they get to feel a greater sense of purpose and at the same time get to bond with their coworkers. Companies are fulfilling their CSR mandates, are making a positive impact and can strengthen employee loyalty and engagement. Communities receive donations that they so desperately need. Charity team building activities are a win-win-win for all.
For those of us in the event industry, this transformation in corporate culture enables us to create a wide variety of programming that are both fresh and engaging. We can make a positive impact on society and help companies exemplify the spirit of empathy and philanthropy.
Dawne Eisenberg is CEO and founder of Pop! Events Group, a leading event management, rentals, and services firm based in Toronto, Ontario. Pop! Events Group has executed thousands of successful live, hybrid ,and virtual events over 18 years in business.