Last week, as I was writing an update on how the hospitality industry has pulled together to help the earthquake victims in Haiti — offering aircraft and cruise ships for the relief efforts, organizing donations and supply drives — it hit me what a generous industry this is.
Each month, I get so much news about how both buyers and suppliers give back that never makes it into print or onto our Web site. So I've decided we should collectively do something about it. I'm asking you to send me stories or press releases about how you have incorporated charitable events into your meetings and events, and I have created a page on our Web site — www.meetingsnet.com/give-back — where I will regularly post articles, resources, and contacts that will help you do so. I hope you'll bookmark the page — I'll update it often and want it to become one of your most valuable pages on the Web for ideas you can use.
Just think: If the tens of thousands of people who read this magazine and the many others who check out our Web site take just one of these ideas and implement it, what a difference we could make!
Following is just a sampling of some good ideas and deeds you'll find there:
Give backpacks filled with school supplies in place of room gifts for your next incentive, then donate them to a local charity (Securian Financial Group's 2009 Crystal Award-winning incentive trip to Zambia)
Have attendees bring amenity-sized soaps and shampoos to your next meeting and donate them to Clean the World (www.cleantheworld.org). Better yet, ask your hotel to donate its amenities. Clean the World sanitizes, steams, packages, and sends the soap to homeless shelters and overseas where thousands of children die from diseases stemming from poor hygiene. (RockResorts and others)
Following a holiday season event, donate your Christmas trees and decorations to a charity. (Disney Destinations' Chicago sales office)
Have meeting attendees create care packages with snacks, entertainment items, even toiletries, to send to the troops through Operation Gratitude — www.opgratitude.com. (Philadelphia CVB)
Tap into the power of your attendance and do an on-site donation. At the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting, held the weekend after the Haiti quake, the 13,000 attendees, along with the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, raised $28,584 toward relief efforts in just 24 hours!