Purpose Driven Meetings and Social Responsibility During Covid -19

Team-building and some form of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been a meetings staple for years. Lots of conferences set aside time, space and resources to give attendees a chance to put together backpacks for school children or sort food supplies for those in need.

Odyssey Teams started with Habitat for Hounds, a program that guided groups through the building of dog houses that were donated to SPCA. It was a way for groups to learn how to work together by creating a tangible product. They then started Life Cycles, where groups built bicycles that were donated to children. “The bike was the product and the children were the customers. The reception from the kids was a game changer when it came to effectiveness in team-building, leadership development and community service,” says Bill John, CEO of Odyssey Teams.

Imagine life without a hand. During this award-winning corporate team building program, Helping Hands, your team will build prosthetic hands needed by amputees around the world. Life-changing moments can be created while learning valuable lessons in perspective, purpose-driven work and customer-centric thinking.


In all those years, John has learned a few lessons about designing programs that do more than check a CSR box—they trigger emotions and change lives. As the world around us has changed, so have many of our business operations. With more employees working from home than ever before, companies are challenged to find new and innovative ways to help their employees give back, derive meaning from the work that they do and stay connected while staying six feet apart.


Enter virtual volunteering.

Just because your employees can’t volunteer in person doesn’t mean there aren’t valuable opportunities available, nor does it mean they have to strap on a VR headset and virtually stock shelves at a food bank. Rather, taking each employee’s unique skill sets online in the form of mentoring, online tutoring, crowd-sourcing and other virtual experiences is the way to direct these experiences.

Looking for a list of organizations and platforms that support virtual volunteering? Check out this list!


A key piece of making remote volunteering work is treating it like an in-person event. Have weekly check-in calls, build teams of volunteers, appoint an ambassador for each team, share the impact that’s being made. The fact that you’ll be doing this remotely makes it even more important to check-in and ensure everyone is on the same page.





Julie Surrey is a Partner at Creative Planette and is a seasoned professional in the events industry. Ms. Surrey started blogging actively in 2010 and writes industry specific pieces for i-Meet, the online business community for people who plan meetings and events.


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