Anyone who believes the saying, “Nothing in life is free,” hasn't been introduced to Triad, the Minnetonka, Minn.-based meeting and event management company. Triad has made a practice of offering its services pro bono to a local non-profit organization “whose mission really touches us,” says Jennifer Braun, director of strategic accounts for Triad.

For three consecutive years, Triad assisted The Jacob Wetterling Foundation with its annual fundraiser, helping to support people living with chronic illness. And most recently, Triad donated about 300 man-hours to help Lifeworks Services Inc., an organization providing services for people with disabilities, expand and improve its annual celebration, which drew more than 800 attendees.

For the Lifeworks event in April 2007, Triad helped with registration, meeting management, production, show development, and on-site logistics, and worked with the nonprofit to incorporate a silent and live auction into the program for the first time. “Triad prodded us to incorporate the fundraising element into our program in 2007, and it was very well received,” says Tony Saputo, director of marketing and communications for Lifeworks. While Triad didn't assist on the organization's 2008 event, Saputo says, Lifeworks took what it learned in 2007 and expanded on it — doubling its fundraising goal. “We would never have been able to do that without the prompting and support from Triad the year before,” says Saputo.

That's precisely the outcome Triad CEO Jennifer Arends is hoping for when she volunteers her company's time and energy. “We seek to educate smaller non-profits on how to achieve greater financial gains on their missions,” she says.

While the gratis event planning services require a significant time commitment from Triad staff, employees jump at the chance to participate and give back to the local community, Braun says. “We pull in the talents of the whole company because we always need a lot of hands. Getting involved in something like this really allows you to look at your skills in a different way.”

The non-profits not only benefit from the Triad staff's expertise but also the extensive network of hospitality and event professionals the company can tap into for help. “We might call our AV company and ask them to donate their time and services and bring others on board as well,” Braun says. “This is when we really put out those calls to our network and call in favors.”

Calendar:

January 11-14, 2009

Professional Convention Management Association
New Orleans
www.pcma.org

January 27-28, 2009

ISM-NBTA Summit on Travel
Sand Meetings
Westin Charlotte (N.C.)
www.ism-nbta.org

February 7-10, 2009

Meeting Professionals International
MeetDifferent
Atlanta
www.mpiweb.org

February 24-26, 2009

Greening the Hospitality Industry
Pittsburgh, Pa.
www.greenmeetings.info

February 26, 2009

DMAI Destinations Showcase
Washington, D.C.
www.destinationsshowcase.com

March 29-31, 2009

Pharmaceutical Meeting Management Forum
Baltimore, Md.
www.meetingsnet.com

May 26-28, 2009

IMEX
Frankfurt, Germany
www.imex-frankfurt.com