Giving Back at Events

Giving Back at Events

Kayla O'Neill and Scott Williams with GlobalGiving share several ways their clients have utilized charitable giving at their events such as attendees earning points, using branded gift cards, and more!

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It's been proved that employees and customers really appreciate having a charitable component to events. Organizations like GlobalGiving help connect nonprofits, donors, and companies. Listen in to hear the fantastic opportunities they can offer to you at your events. Want to learn more? Contact Kayla and Scott at [email protected]

As you know, Cvent Connect has now gone virtual! From August 25 - 26, Cvent will provide 28 live breakout sessions, virtual meetups, appointments, and more. Check out Cvent.com/podcast and click on the Cvent Connect banner to learn more and register for free!

Guests

  • Scott Williams, Senior Corporate Partnerships and Products Manager at GlobalGiving
  • Kayla O'Neill, Senior Business Partnerships Associate at GlobalGiving

Hosts

  • Brooke Gracey, Senior Manager, Demand Generation, Cvent
  • Cody Liskh, Team Lead, Event Quarterback Team, Cvent

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Transcript

Cody Liskh 
Alright, Kayla & Scott. Thank you so much for joining the podcast, can you both just give us a little bit of background on how you guys ended up at global giving 

Kayla O’Neill 
Yes. So, Kayla here and before joining global giving I worked briefly in event marketing at Amazon Web Services Working to plan events within their flagship reinvent conference, such as nonprofit hackathons, catering events, and then I moved on to TripAdvisor is a charitable foundation.
In both roles, I had the opportunity to work on really exciting social impact projects, but I knew I wanted to dive deeper into the social impact world And so I joined global giving just three short years ago to work here at kind of the intersection of technology and social change work. 

Scott
Yeah, and my career was mostly in tech and software implementation for companies like the caterpillar and a company is now part of Oracle. And I actually first learned about global giving while I was in business school, one of My fellow alumni also happens work here. And so, she's the one that taught me about it During that point in time. And so, after school, I kept an eye out for openings here because it just seemed like a really good fit for My international business background and you know the software implementation. And so, I started on the product team, but I've really found the work with companies and corporate partnerships to be really rewarding. And that's, that's why I'm still here seven and a half years later. 

Brooke Gracey
That's awesome. Now I have had the opportunity to work with global giving a great experience. We actually used you guys as part of a campaign that we were doing, and I know you guys do a lot of work with event planners. Can you talk to us a little bit more about that? 

Scott
Absolutely, yeah. We work with lots of companies and you know folks that are looking to give back in different ways and You know, one, one of the main ways that we help, especially Planners is with global giving gift cards.
You know, charitable gift cards allow companies to purchase a set of unique, you know, gift cards that are sent out to recipients that can designate what project or charity, they'd like to support with those gift card dollars. And so, we've seen gift cards used as part of swag bags. We've seen them, you know, handed out at tables and expo hall or even just handed out for random acts of kindness that are that people see around conferences.
And, you know, we've also seen companies like Facebook and Google host lunches during, you know, larger events and have iPads, where they can redeem those gift cards kind of right then and there. And so, the gift card is a pretty great tool. It can be branded with your company or event logo. And so, we see that that being used quite a lot. We've also seen companies like VMware who, you know, consistently have terrible giving options during their conferences like VM world. Do several different charitable options. So, at one conference attendees could earn points through that throughout the conference. And at the end of the events, they could redeem those points for various items of swag and for anybody that didn't want another backpack or water bottle. They had the option to donate those points to charitable causes they care about.
We've also seen Kind of a swag replacement where people can drop a coin in a bucket that that supports a cause that they care about. And then a donation is made based on those designations.
And we've even seen one VM world conference where they allowed people to make a paper airplane and then fly that airplane down A path of that represented a cause and the distance that flu represented the amount of donations VMware would make on their behalf. So those are a few kinds of cool examples of ways we've worked with event planners and Kayla, you have a couple as well. 

Kayla O’Neill
Yeah, I would just add, Scott, you know, with that airplane example the paper airplanes. We've seen some other really great visual representations of giving. So, for example, at my former employer TripAdvisor they've hosted events where attendees painted a square and that represented a $1 donation being made. And so then, at the end of the event, you have this incredible visual of the impact that you've made as a collective group.
And one other way, kind of Shifting gears, you know, We've seen some benefit concerts come out of this kind of recent pandemic and we global giving have worked with benefit concerts in the past, for example, We worked with a title for a concert featuring Jay Z and Beyoncé to help them implement a mobile giving solution. So, in that case, we were collecting mobile and online donations for organizations responding to hurricanes in the Caribbean After those Stearns had really devastated that region. And so, we had the opportunity to distribute funds to some really wonderful nonprofits that we're addressing that work. So, it's definitely lots of You know, types of events, lots of creative ways that people are incorporating giving and we're always really excited to work with event planners. 

Brooke Gracey
Oh my gosh, I love all those examples, I mean, of course, my ears perked up when you mentioned queen bee, of course, but Loving the visual representation. That's so cool. For those in-person events. Now, I know we're not doing a lot of in-person right now. And so, I wonder how our planners using this as part of their maybe virtual event strategy or even just to kind of engage with some other customers when they can't be face to face. 

Scott
Yeah, we're seeing a lot of, you know, conferences and events, obviously, shifting online. And there's a lot of challenges that go with doing that and One of the biggest I think ways that we're seeing the adapt that you know adaptation is through physical sweat and, you know, that's such a kind of a, quote, as part of conferences. And you know companies still want to be able to give something to attendees, even if it's in a virtual environment so I talked about gift cards earlier, but then, the, you know, the great thing about that is that those are also available as virtual e-cards. They can, you know, be used as a way to give a gift to an attendee while also, you know, giving back. And so, especially during these really difficult times we're seeing, you know, a lot of support for you know frontline workers and for vulnerable populations dealing with COVID and a lot of other things and so Giving a gift at a during a virtual event that then they can also feel good about giving back is one way, we're seeing a lot of folks adapting to this online world.
You know, we also talked about the idea of dropping a coin in a bucket. And while you can't physically do that through a website, there's lots of ways that that can be adapted to a virtual environment, you know, one. One way would be through a survey question You're thinking about offering somebody a t-shirt You can also maybe a, you know, they can mail to their home. You can also ask if they would instead as You know, a gift card and in lieu of that, you could ask a poll during a speaker event that asks people to choose a cause that they care most about and then make a designation based on those options. So I think there's definitely ways that You know, we can continue the Charitability of events, even when it can't be done in person or be quite as fun as, you know, flying a paper airplane. 

Cody Liskh
Speaking of which, I love the idea of flying a paper airplane to see how much people are going to donate it to that's such a cool unique way of getting donations. And I just have to think from a company standpoint that they have to be really excited about, you know, charitable donations. At this time, but how can these companies track their collected donations to report on internally. 

Kayla O’Neill
Yeah, I can answer that. So, I'd say that here at global giving the way we typically do this is by spinning up custom giving pages. So, these pages can both track the amount that individual attendees might donate or offline It can track you know how they redeem gift cards for a charitable cause. And so, when we build these sorts of pages, we can track in real-time the total dollars raised, which I think is a really exciting way to kind of show your again collective impact. 

Brooke Gracey
Yeah, love that really maybe even that kind of visual element once you start seeing some of those numbers come through. Just to kind of give your audience a sense of how many donations are going back to these organizations and I know you guys have like thousands of companies that You can donate to through global giving and I have to imagine you know for some events or for some organizations Some of those charities make more sense than others. So how do you kind of walk them through that process to figure out who they should be donating to or what options they should be giving their attendees? 

Scott
Global giving Actually, that's all of the nonprofit's that we work with. And so we have what he said several thousand charitable organizations around the world today Go through our due diligence process where we for international organizations are ensuring that they're registered with their local governments that they, You know aren't on any of the terror watch lists or have any money laundering issues that we should be concerned with. And we're also looking at, you know, kind of their public reputation through the news. Negative news and things like that. So, every organization that's on global giving can be trusted and goes through this rigorous vetting process. And that really does reduce the risk of both individual donors, you may want to give to these charities, but especially for companies that are looking to donate
In addition, a lot of these organizations go through what we call an accelerator program where they're learning how to raise funds online, how to identify who is in their donor network, and that opportunity. Then we put them through a fundraising challenge where they have to raise $5,000 from 40 donors and that really just ensures that they have A record of social impact that they built up a community that wants to and does support them.
And it helps us identify any irregularities in the source of donations that may be coming to that organization, for instance, and so What we see them as way as a result of, you know, this accelerator program, but also some of our larger international grant-making programs with partners like 3m and Facebook and Ford is A fairly large number of charitable organizations that range from, you know, larger global charities too, you know, much more community-led organizations and those are the types of organizations they think you'll find most of on global giving That we think that those organizations are the most effective that they really understand their community means they're implementing the project where they live And benefiting people that live around them. And so those are the organizations I think you'll find most often on global giving 

Cody Liskh
I'm still trying to wrap my mind around You guys have 4000 plus charities to choose from a www.globalgiving.org like that is so many charities and I think that's just such a cool thing You guys are doing. I imagine a lot of our listeners out there wanting to get involved, how can companies start to use global giving with their events. 

Kayla O’Neill
Yeah, I'm happy to answer that. So, we love to get in touch with event planners and with companies that are looking to give charitably especially right now. So folks could reach out to Scott and I's team, the partnerships team, and global giving by emailing [email protected]. And from there we can help to launch a giving page or provide charitable gift cards, usually within a matter of a few business hours or a day or two, so we can get things started really quickly and we'd love to brainstorm and to hear from you. 

Brooke Gracey
Now we ask the same question to every one of our guests. So, I'm going to pose this to you guys as well. Feel free. You can both answer if you want to will Maybe get a couple of pieces of advice here, but we really like to leave our event for professionals with one Takeaway or one piece of advice that you guys have maybe around what they should be considering about being charitable whether this part of their live events, their virtual events or sort of this hybrid event that we're seeing pop up. What kind of advice would you have for them? 

Scott
I can take a stab at that. I think that you know, the shift from especially right now in-person to online has been A real adjustment for everybody. And so, we're seeing a surge in charitable giving because of just the environment, the world operating in right now, and the need to do good and get back Especially as part of these virtual events and it's really important that happens. But I think it's also really important to remember that, as things go back to whatever normal we go back to That you know I think adding a component of charity ability in the conferences is really inspiring and it makes attendees really feel empowered to give back and to do some good while they're also, you know, they're learning and speaking and being part of this, you know, a community that the event has created. we know that employees want to work somewhere that is charitable. We know the customers want to buy from companies that are philanthropic and what we see from, you know, Survey results and things like that from people that have attended a conference and maybe gotten a gift card from that is that they also really appreciate attending conferences where a charitable component is this part of the program. 

Kayla O’Neill
And I would say, you know, it's hard right now I'm likely to be an event marketer. It's hard to get anything started, but I would just urge folks that are really inspired to do something charitable just get started, you can start small. You can start scrappy. But it's not so-so hard to just dip your toes into it. And I think that your event attendees will be impressed by whatever it is, whether it's a $10 gift card or some other small gesture That shows you know you understand what's on their minds right now and that you can help them be part of, you know, kind of the solution. And, you know, helping others. So, I would just urge you to know to do something, even if it's something small. 

Cody Liskh
Love that advice and I love that, like what you said, it's just a $10 e-card, but it's really a really fantastic gesture that you can provide. Scott and Kayla, it's been so great to have you on the podcast before we leave. Is there anything you want to promote or share with our listeners? 

Scott 
Well, I think I've talked enough about global giving gift cards, although they are great ideas for things that aren't just conference or event-related, you can think your team or vendors with them. You can also purchase them for family and friends.
But we actually put together a guide for you know that folks that are looking to add more social impact into your events. And so, you're it's free to download. You can go to www.globalgiving.org/greatevents. And, you know, there's a guide there that will help you come up with some hopefully unique ideas for how you can integrate charitable giving into your next conference or event. 

Cody Liskh
Perfect. Well thanks again guys for joining and we'll make sure to put that link up on our website. www.globalgiving.org/greatevents Scott and Kayla, it's been a pleasure to have you on the podcast.