Outshine’s Hillary Windsor took to California last week for Benevity’s annual Goodness Matters conference—an inspiring event for the world’s top CSR professionals. Here’s her recap.
Palm Springs, California. It’s where Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, Liberace, and Elvis Presley escaped to in their heyday to soak up life’s simple pleasures, so, it’s fitting that today, it’s where purpose-driven professionals from all over North America gather for an annual pilgrimage of all things Good.
Benevity—the global leader in workplace giving and corporate philanthropy solutions— held their annual Goodness Matters conference last week, featuring internationally-renowned keynote speaker presentations, breakout sessions with industry pros, networking opportunities, and the much-anticipated Goodies Awards.
The theme of the two-and-a-half-day conference (which, frankly, felt more like a friendly retreat than a corporate gathering) was Imagine; threading together the topics of employee engagement, purpose-driven culture, and sense of corporate community—something the world’s biggest companies are taking more and more seriously.
According to the Financial Times, corporate social responsibility is defined as:
The movement aimed at encouraging companies to be more aware of the impact of their business on the rest of society, including their own stakeholders and the environment.
From lower turnover rates to improved company culture, recent studies show that employee engagement and corporate citizenship are contributing to a fulfilled sense of purpose for paycheque-collectors around the globe—and these CSR-focused initiatives are surpassing monetary raises on the employee incentive list.
As someone who’d not known much of the CSR world prior to starting with Outshine a few months ago, being a part of Goodness Matters 2019 was not what I had anticipated for a corporate conference, to say the least.
If you’ve never been to Palm Springs, there is a palpable, paradisiacal energy that envelopes you as soon as you step off the plane and into this warm, calm vacationland (especially if you’re escaping a cold, Canadian late-February, but I digress).
The week’s activities kicked off with a pre-conference mixer and volunteer opportunity where dozens of attendees networked with one another while building bicycles for foster children through the Together We Rise foundation.
The next day, hundreds of people gathered for the official welcome speech given by Benevity’s CEO, Bryan de Lottinville, who introduced the day’s keynote, Jane McGonigal—a video game designer and one of Oprah’s “20 most inspiring women in the world.” Jane made the case for using gaming as an intervention for increased employee engagement and decreased levels of depression.
“The opposite of play isn’t work—it’s depression.”
— Jane McGonigal, author and video game designer
With representatives from some of the largest companies in the world (Microsoft, Warner Brothers, and Hewlett Packard, to name a few), Benevity’s annual conference brought together global powerhouses under one roof and celebrated something not often immediately correlated with large corporations—goodness, stewardship, social responsibility and accountability.
Author and keynote, Afdhel Aziz, presented a poignant speech on the final day of the conference, highlighting the myths, misconceptions and power of brand purpose, and how today’s top tech and retail companies are making it a priority.
“Purpose is a global growth strategy.”
— Afdhel Aziz, author, Good is the New Cool
According to Afdhel, nearly 64% of millennials or Gen Z won’t take a job if they don’t have a strong CSR practice. And, “85% of Gen Z believes companies have an obligation to help solve social problems.”
He believes that by creating ways for employees to feel proud of the company they work for by volunteering and fundraising, you can move to being catalysts of corporate opportunity.
Catch the GM2019 highlight reel here:
Benevity’s goodness platform helps connect the dots between the growing number of employers and employees who value meaningful experience and sense of purpose at work. Their products and services range from workplace giving and employee engagement, to grants management and disaster relief.
Whether you want to donate a portion of your paycheque to your favourite charity and have it matched by your employer, or organize a company-wide fundraising initiative across multiple offices, Benevity’s products can make it happen.
Blog post by Hillary Windsor, associate at Outshine.