December 1, 2022

Boost Brand Loyalty & Awareness: 5 CSR Events for Businesses

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For business leaders and association professionals alike, events are an important way to engage your target audience and attract new constituents to your organization. However, many organizations struggle with finding event ideas that can achieve these lofty goals.

This is where corporate social responsibility (CSR) can be incredibly useful for your organization. CSR or corporate philanthropy programs can increase your organization’s positive effect on society—usually by partnering with or contributing to a nonprofit. In return, your business can reach new audiences and elevate your public image.

So, what CSR-related events can help your business reach your marketing objectives? Consider the following five ideas, as well as our tips for how to carry them out.

From timeless virtual event ideas to hybrid fundraisers, here are classic CSR ideas and traditional business events that can be enhanced with a philanthropic twist:

  • Fundraising or donation drives
  • Virtual career fairs
  • Nonprofit auctions
  • Professional networking for a cause
  • Hybrid celebrations and galas

Eager to host more effective events and boost loyalty and awareness for your brand? Let’s jump in with a popular corporate social responsibility program.

  1. Fundraising or donation drives

On top of the clear moral incentive of CSR programs, fundraising drives also have the added benefit of cause marketing. This means that your organization receives positive publicity for your charitable actions. This can play a big role in both employee satisfaction and consumer spending habits. After all, over 87% of consumers have indicated that they would purchase a product simply because the business advocated for a cause they’re passionate about.

Additionally, if you choose to match a certain level of donations collected, your donations to nonprofit organizations can have tax benefits. In particular, DonationMatch’s guide to in-kind donation and tax deductions notes that in-kind donations may be deductible up to 50% to 60% of gross adjusted income (AGI) for some businesses.

So, if you’re looking for a fairly quick and easy CSR event, consider hosting a fundraising drive for a nonprofit suggested by your stakeholders. Fundraising drives are flexible campaigns where you spend anywhere from a day to a month collecting monetary or in-kind donations on behalf of a nonprofit partner.

This might mean setting up an online fundraising page. Alternatively, you could place physical donation boxes at your business’s locations. Whatever strategy you choose, just be sure to promote your efforts on social media, email, and other marketing channels. Some examples of fundraising drives include:

  • Clothing drives
  • Food drives
  • Toy drives
  • Point-of-sale change collection boxes

You can keep the momentum going for your fundraising drive with the gamification tools in your virtual event platform, like a virtual leaderboard. For even more excitement, you can also host fun activities to increase attention for and participation in your campaign. For instance, you might:

  • Organize a picnic, luncheon, or gathering to entertain attendees while fundraising happens.
  • Offer a virtual seminar or workshop on your nonprofit partner’s work.
  • Host a pre- or post-campaign party to engage donors, volunteers, and staff members to kick off the campaign and/or present the donations to your beneficiary organization.

Whatever events you pair with your fundraising drive, be sure to enlist the permission of the organization to whom you wish to donate, as state regulations may require it. This partner may also be able to help with marketing.

  1. Virtual career fairs

Virtual job fairs are a great way for you to publicize opportunities within your organization and attract eager professionals to your brand.

Additionally, you can broaden the reach of your career fair and reap the benefits of cause marketing by inviting nonprofit partners to engage in the event.

Reserve a virtual space for your charitable partners to set up booths where they can potentially recruit new donors or volunteers to their cause. Just be sure that the nonprofits you invite are a part of the same sector or have a target audience that aligns with employers’ at the event.

Just like a classic career or job fair, this event involves inviting job seekers to travel between different employer booths run by a company recruiter. The key difference is that, instead of shuffling around a crowded venue, attendees can use your online event platform to “move around” and network. This allows them to easily engage with different departments and fellow professionals through video or chat windows.

For example, in 2021 Amazon hosted its own career fair and brand launch: the Amazonian Experience and Technology (AET) event. This allowed attendees from all over the world to join in and network with corporate recruiters and speakers—all from the comfort of their own homes.

As you’re organizing your own career fair, consider how Amazon’s team leveraged their chosen virtual event platform. From sharing event agendas in advance to hosting on-demand content after the event, they were able to maximize the marketing and engagement value of their event.

  1. Nonprofit auctions

Participating in nonprofit auctions is another form of corporate philanthropy that can push your organization into the public eye. Many companies donate in-kind gifts as prizes, which often include products or redeemable gift certificates. Auctions leverage a nonprofit’s audience of supporters, meaning this form of charitable marketing can get more eyes on your brand.

Be sure to pick out prizes that attendees will genuinely want and think are valuable and unique. Double the Donation’s article on charity auction item ideas provides the following suggestions for potential high-value items:

  • Travel packages to enticing destinations or fun experiences
  • Gift cards to local restaurants, shops, and businesses
  • Themed gift baskets, such as a Spa Day package
  • Behind-the-scenes tours or exclusive experiences

We recommend organizing mainstream donations (more generally popular products or tickets) along with VIP packages. These VIP prizes are “priceless” experiences that a typical customer may not be able to purchase. This might include a personal shopping day, lunch with an executive, or a meal at a chef’s table that’s been reserved for your closest partners.

By selecting biddable items that attendees would want, you can further boost your donation’s marketability. On top of that, you’re giving attendees a greater reason to want to invest in and support your business.

Keep in mind that auctions may be held in person or virtually, so provide relevant details and links for browsing your site.

  1. Professional networking for a cause

Networking events are a great way to engage employees at all levels and solidify company loyalty.

Plus, they also provide the perfect chance for you to open up your network to vendors and co-sponsors. After all, your event will include plenty of booths where exhibitors eager can chat with your constituents.

To add a philanthropic twist to the event, partner with a nonprofit organization within the same sector or that has a similar target audience. You can invite staff members of the organization to attend the event to further build relationships with your nonprofit partner.

You can even invite your charity partner to host mini-fundraising activities to engage attendees, such as:

  • Small auctions
  • Opportunity drawings
  • Co-sponsored merchandising sales

This is another event type that could work well virtually and in person. As long as attendees have the tools they need to engage with each other, computers can work just as well as a traditional venue.

As you’re choosing the right event format to suit your needs, consider your resources and event goals. This will help you select a solution that is both cost-effective and convenient to use.

  1. Hybrid celebrations and galas

Hybrid celebrations and galas held with a nonprofit partner provide a lavish and elegant night of fun and celebration for your constituents. They also inspire attendees to support your and your nonprofit partners’ causes. And by infusing an online element into your activities, you can engage audience members near and far to increase your organization’s reach.

This elegant, highly-publicized CSR initiative can also benefit your organization by attracting high-value customers to your business.

For in-person attendees, pick an impressive venue like an upscale hotel. Provide meals, refreshments, and live entertainment or keynote speakers. For virtual attendees, use social media and your virtual event platform to gamify your event. For example, you can provide value in the form of activities and widgets like:

  • Online auction bidding
  • Live streams of event speakers
  • Award ceremonies
  • Chat features and forums between attendees

Finally, send both hard-copy invitations and interactive event email invitations that link to important event resources. For in-person attendees, this might mean venue details. For virtual attendees, provide technology set-up instructions.

This ensures that your event provides the greatest possible value to the greatest number of people, which will reflect positively on your brand.

Wrapping Up

Events that support community organizations can provide value and engagement to your constituents while attracting vast new audiences to your organization. And this is especially true when you pick the right partners and execute your events effectively.

With these versatile and highly-marketable CSR event ideas, you’re on right track to reach even greater audiences and strengthen supporters’ loyalty to your brand.