Page 3 - I&MI Media The Magazine 3/2012

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SEP/OCT 2012
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The Do-It-Yourself Workbook:
B
ecause the travel industry is the world’s largest industry, making
a difference in incentive travel practices can have a huge impact
on the world. By changing standards and practices within the
industry to be more environmentally responsible and engage in socially
conscious activities, we can make a difference to the inhabitants
of the communities we work with. By running environmentally-
friendly incentive programs and corporate meetings, we can make a
difference to the people at the shelter who receive food leftover from
our banquets, to the children who use the pads, pencils and other
assorted remaining items for their art projects, and to the planet – trees
weren’t cut down and waste was diverted from landfills because we’re
more aware of what we use and how we use it. Most importantly, we
can be a catalyst for good and an inspiration for other businesses to
become more environmentally responsible and socially conscious.
What types of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs
or components make the most sense to add to meeting and travel
events? It depends on a company’s core objectives. For example,
most corporate meetings would like to achieve certain goals when
their employees gather together – better communication, trust,
time management skills, etc. All of these can be achieved utilizing
teambuilding activities. And with today’s packed agendas and limited
budgets, it’s important that such activities be manageable time-wise
and held on site if possible.
The Upside
Here are a few things to consider when combining an effective
teambuilding activity with a meaningful CSR component. 
First, including a CSR-related event on your agenda can certainly
soften” shareholders’ and the media’s perceptions when it comes to
corporate spending on meetings and incentive travel programs. It’s
really the responsibility of the meeting planner and C-suite execs to
support the importance of their meetings (as well as the benefits of a
well designed incentive travel program) to those who may challenge
corporate spending on these activities.
Next, providing corporations with a press release at the
conclusion of each CSR event, gathering testimonials and photos,
making sure participants receive a thank-you letter from the
beneficiary as a follow-up – these all help create positive press and
perceptions. 
For the sponsors, post-event surveys also support the positive
results that a CSR activity can have with participants. It’s important
to reconfirm that key objectives – such as the effectiveness of the
teambuilding element of the event – were met. An on-site assessment
can provide useful feedback, and the beneficiary of the CSR activity
often completes a post-event survey that provides useful data
supporting the donation and the impact on the local community. 
Make It a Goal
It’s critical that meeting planners, third-party planners, DMCs,
production companies and hoteliers understand the importance
of incorporating CSR events into meetings and incentive travel
programs. Being a good corporate citizen should be a company goal,
just as increasing sales or increasing market share is a goal. 
The first step is understanding the causes that a corporation or
association supports and then creating a CSR event that supports
a similar cause that benefits the community at your next meeting or
incentive destination.
Doing Well By Doing
Good Can Be Contagious
By Ira Almeas, President, Impact 4 Good
Ira Almeas, President of Impact 4 Good, has 20+ years
of experience in the meetings/events industry. He has a
marketing degree from the University of Maryland and is an
active member in the Society of Incentive & Travel Executives
and has chaired many committees, as well as addressed
numerous conferences concerning the incentive industry. Ira
has lived abroad both in Japan and Spain and has traveled
extensively worldwide.
I
&
MI