Prevue July/August 2015 - (Page 14)

good business Empty Suitcase Campaign This new CSR concept has attendees fill their duffle bags and go Shawna Suckow and Colleen Abernethy in Nepal I magine the impact that a suitcase of eyeglasses could have in an area so remote and impoverished that people have no access to eye doctors. A single pair-of just the right strength-could change the life of a person with blurry vision, giving them the chance to work and participate fully in life again. That's exactly what Shawna Suckow, CMP, founder of SPIN (Senior Planners Industry Network) and Colleen Abernethy, owner of Platinum DMC Collection, experienced during a trip to Nepal in 2013. "We heard of a doctor there who offers an annual eye clinic in a remote area and needed used prescription eyeglasses," says Suckow. "Through Colleen's connection with the Lion's Club in Minnesota, we brought a suitcase filled with over 200 pairs with us. The feeling that overcame us we met him and left with that empty suitcase was so gratifying that we wanted to expand on it." Out of that day, the idea for The Empty Suitcase Campaign was born. With years spent writing about the importance of including CSR initiatives in meetings and incentives, Prevue was happy to join in on the action, along with Doug Chorpenning, founder of the Wet Paint Creative Group. It's challenging to fit giving back into an already packed two- or threeday program. That's where the Empty Suitcase Campaign can help. EMPTYSUITCASE.ORG The new portal, which was compiled with the help of local DMCs, features dozens of destinations around the globe and everyday 14 | prevue magazine items that are in need by nonprofits therein. The turnkey platform makes it easy for planners to organize donations at their meeting or incentive when they can't fit a CSR program into their event. Or, they can use it to supplement an activity they are already planning, like a visit to a school, with donations of needed supplies. All it takes to participate in the empty suitcase campaign is 3 steps: Planners contact the DMC to make the arrangements with the nonprofit; order the bags, emblazoned with the Empty Suitcase logo, from the portal; distribute the bags to attendees before the event (they are foldable and slip easily into mailers), with a letter explaining the program and asking them to fill the bags with the needed items and bring them on the trip. The simple black carry-on bags are generously being provided by Joel Wochner of promotional products company CSE at cost, and were the brainchild of Doug Chorpenning, founder of Wet Paint Creative Group, another co-founder of the initiative. "Keeping it simple is important, so having an easy resource to order the bags was critical," Chorpenning explains. "But if planners Picture want to use their own source, that's absolutely fine. Thiscaption just makes it really easy to implement if you don't have a lot of time or money in the budget for something more elaborate." IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES Hopes for the Empty Suitcase Campaign are high, ultimately centering on encouraging busy planners who haven't had time to include an element of CSR in their programs to do so. In various industry surveys, the number of companies including CSR efforts in their events are expected to grow, but that hasn't always been the case-often because planners don't have the time or support. To maximize it's success, planners should send in their success stories to the Empty Suitcase website. DMCs can also to reach out to local nonprofits so they can broaden the list of options for giving. Imagine if planners across our industry embraced this idea and made it a standard for their meetings and incentives. The impact would be just incredible.-Barbara Scofidio "We brought a suitcase filled with 200 pairs of prescription eyeglasses with us [to Nepal]. Out of that day, the idea for The Empty Suitcase Campaign was born." http://www.EMPTYSUITCASE.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Prevue July/August 2015

Planner’s Pick: Washington, D.C
Fresh Meets: Loews Hotels & Resorts
Bureau Buzz: Las Vegas CVB
Good Business: The Empty Suitcase Campaign
Sea Shores: Foodie Cruises on the Rise
Culinary Combos
On Location: Puerto Rico
On Location: Dominican Republic
On Location: Le Meridien New Orleans
Checkout: Gyeongwonjae Ambassador Hotel

Prevue July/August 2015