C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 15

increase sales revenue by 20 percent
and can affect variations of customer
satisfaction by 10 percent or more.
If major brands can do this and show
growth and loyalty, then we must do
it within the meetings business as
well. We are always looking for ways to
increase attendance at meetings and
retain members. What better way than
incorporating CSR into your program?
CSR programs can be overwhelming
for those who plan them. Boards of
directors all agree that they want to give
back; however, they don't realize the
amount of work it can take to do so. That
is where the planning team comes in.
As a meeting planner, I started
integrating CSR programs into meetings
in 1992. My team had the right mix of
committed and motivated people to
make it all happen. Plus, one of my
conference committee members worked
for GE Electric, which had a program
called Make a Difference that we modeled
our programs after. It was truly magical
how it all came together over that initial
five-year period. We renovated schools,
YMCAs, donated fitness equipment to
youth centers and educated kids on the
benefits of health and wellness all over
America. These projects are some of the
major highlights of my career. We had
leadership that supported the projects

both with time and money, but they did
not happen overnight. It took several
months to get everyone on board, but
once we did the amount of support was
overwhelming. There were days where
I said to myself, "Why did I do this to
myself?" I did it because I loved it. We
were making a difference for so many.
Flash forward to today: As a supplier,
I still want to help make the events I
work on more meaningful. Vancouver is a
socially conscious destination, making it
a perfect fit for me. A few years ago, my
team came up with the program called
#vangiving. I loved it! During sales calls,
we would give clients a gift card and
asked them to donate it to the charity of
their choice. We also started sponsoring
industry organizations and their CSR
efforts, in particular Association Forum.
Association Forum wanted to start small,
and so did we. The first year, we held
a food drive during Holiday Showcase.
We promoted it, but it was not fully
integrated into the program yet. My team
and I stood outside the luncheon door
and accepted the food donations. People
soon started asking other ways they
could support the program as well. They
wanted to give cash - so we said great.
We donated almost $1,000 by people just
handing cash to us, not to mention the
food. Over the years, we have changed
the effort and are now conducting diaper
drives because it is one of the most

expensive items for people in need.
Last year, we donated more than 8,000
diapers to the Cradle, an Evanston-based
adoption agency.
At the Forum Forward meeting for
the past three years, we packed Clean
the World Homeless Kits for various
homeless agencies based in Chicago.
People enjoyed having an activity to do
while they are taking a break from the
meeting, and it is a great way to network
with fellow attendees as well. Last year,
I witnessed one lady sitting in a corner
during a break. I could tell she was shy.
I went up to her and asked her to help,
and she was so excited she got right up
to help. By the end of the conference, she
met some new work friends and said she
would be back to the next year's meeting.
That is double the success in my book.
Many ask me how do I come up with
these ideas? I find it really easy. I like
taking big ideas and making them
happen. Here are a few questions I ask
myself when thinking about CSR:
1. What is important to the
organization? Find a cause/activity
that is related to the vision and mission
of the organization. If it does not
connect to that mission, it will likely
not be supported as much as it could
and might die out after a year or two.
2. Who are the stakeholders? Look at
what is important to them.
3. What is reasonable to do? Don't bite
off more than you can chew.
CSR can be as easy or complex as
you want to make it. I have seen so
many great programs incorporated into
meetings. Anything is possible. You just
have to have someone champion it and
make it a part of the program.
We live in a world of privilege in our
business, and my hope is that many of the
professionals we host will share their time
and help those in need. My charge to our
industry is find what is important to your
group and incorporate a way to give back at
your next meeting. ●

Tourism Vancouver along with partners and customers celebrate the #vangiving program at
Holiday Showcase. American Health Information Association (AHIMA) donated the most diapers
during the CSR challenge winning them the coveted Grace Cup.

Rachael Riggs, CMP, is Manager, Meetings
and Conventions Sales - Midwest/Chicago
with Tourism Vancouver.
www.mpicac.org

| C+C magazine | 15


http://www.mpicac.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
LEARNING BYTES
THE EVOLUTION OF MULTI-GENERATIONAL EVENTS
WHY CORPORTATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IS SMART BUSINESS
THE NEW RFP - HOW ARE YOU COMMUNICATING WITH IT
BLOGSPOT
VOLUNTEER WITH MPI: HOW TO GET INVOLVED
DESTINATION FOCUS: THE GREAT LAKES
WELCOME TO THE NEW MEMBERS OF MPI-CAC!
INDEX TO ADVERTISERS
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover1
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover2
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 3
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 4
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 5
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 6
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 8
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 9
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 10
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - LEARNING BYTES
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - THE EVOLUTION OF MULTI-GENERATIONAL EVENTS
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 13
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - WHY CORPORTATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IS SMART BUSINESS
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 15
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - THE NEW RFP - HOW ARE YOU COMMUNICATING WITH IT
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 17
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - 18
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - BLOGSPOT
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - VOLUNTEER WITH MPI: HOW TO GET INVOLVED
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - DESTINATION FOCUS: THE GREAT LAKES
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - INDEX TO ADVERTISERS
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover3
C+C Magazine - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover4
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