A 2018 study by Cone/Porter Novelli found that 85 percent of Americans believe companies should demonstrate their purpose by supporting causes in their local communities and around the world. And while this research is focused primarily on traditional companies and consumers, it’s a statistic that faith-based planners shouldn’t ignore. Conferencegoers are seeing this evolution in events, and it could be a key to influencing them just as much as your content. Here are six options for incorporating social justice into your next event.
Dedicate Space for a Marketplace or Booths
Sponsor booths and stores are already commonplace at events, so, in the future, save a little square footage for nonprofits and social enterprises. Carry 117, Noonday Collection and Thistle Farms all have products that will engage attendees. “Hosting a marketplace not only lets us sell our products, but also share connections, resources and opportunities far beyond the purchase of a bag,” says Henok Berhanu, founder and CEO of Carry 117. “It offers us the chance to invite people into our story, not just hear about it.”
Host an Activity
Providing a hands-on activity is a good way to educate attendees about an issue and get them out of their seats. The Compassion Experience, Rice Bowls and Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child are pros at events.
Make a Donation
Sometimes a donation makes the most sense, whether it’s provided on behalf of the event host or is a collection taken up by attendees. TrueNorth Freedom Project and Preemptive Love are tackling hot-button issues like healthy sexuality and the Middle East, respectively, while Soles4Souls provides shoes for people who need them most. Choose a topic dear to your group. Give Gifts on Purpose Do you give speaker gifts or attendee swag? Packed With Purpose and Gifts for Good make it simple to choose items that have a deeper meaning. And for screen printing, New Avenues Ink takes pride in making brands look and feel good.
Plan to Do Good
Go back to the beginning: planning and logistics. Consider locations and food and beverage that give back, such as Phoenix Roasters and San Diego-based Kitchens for Good. Another option is to bring in a social impact event planner like Rich Beyond Wealth.
Examine Your Lineup
Perhaps the easiest way to incorporate social justice is by giving stage time to those who advocate for others like Latasha Morrison of Be the Bridge, Gary Haugen of International Justice Mission or Jenny Yang of World Relief.
“The spike in demand for purpose-driven speakers is directly driven by a need for all organizations to adjust to the distinct preferences of the massive millennial and Gen Z generations,” says Trisha Stezzi, founder of the Champions of Good speakers bureau. “Their scale makes them powerful cohorts that simply cannot be ignored. Both generations are driven by a desire to take meaningful action to contribute to the greater good. However, research also shows that they do not feel obligated to do so through traditional institutions. That creates a mandate for faith-based organizations to be proactive in establishing their relevancy with these generations. Inspiring stories shared by purpose-driven speakers can be a powerful tool for faith-based organizations to do exactly that.”