• November 2010

Roxanne Rukowicz Ladd shows us how to do well by doing good

By Roxanne Rukowicz Ladd, Principal
Behind the Scenes Events

I have a friend who is a mentor to many. Yes, he is well-liked and well-known. He is an excellent sales man and a consummate gentleman. In fact, some might say he is business in Greater Washington. But I have long since believed these are not the attributes that draw so many individuals his way. Instead, it is his philosophy that one can do well in business by doing good in the community, that pulls so many people close.

And at the end of the day, aren’t most people looking for a larger sense of accomplishment? We all want to know that not only did our work yield a positive to your stakeholders, but that at the same time, the work positively impacted the community at large.

Fortunately, more organizations than ever before are integrating the concept of corporate citizenship or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) into their core culture and values.

The case for this is simple: Operate in a manner that accounts for the social and environmental impact created by your business all while creating business value, or ‘Doing well by doing good.’

Initially focused solely on philanthropy, today CSR is a defined as a broader commitment to protecting and improving the lives of employees and the communities in which companies do business. Moreover, organizations are continuously looking for inventive ways to increase their impact on the community around them.

Many innovative companies are able to truly embrace this concept and create or utilize existing company functions and events to both promote their commitment to their community and environment.

But where to start?

How does an organization create a positive impact on the community around them through special events or programs?

  • Begin my defining your organizational CSR goals, making sure they are in line with the overall business mission.
  • Next, decide what strategies you will utilize to implement your CSR goals. In the case of event planning, you might start by deciding if you will add an element of CSR to an existing program or to create new programming all together. Both offer distinctive opportunities and drawbacks.
  • Decide upon an appropriate beneficiary to engage/honor/partner-with that will speak to your constituents – both internal and external.
  • And then, get creative.

Here are a few ideas

1. If your organization regularly hosts functions and you have a built in audience – add a fundraising aspect to your next affair. Promote the non-profit that will be the beneficiary of the giving. Invite their attendance to the event and offer visibility through logo placement, networking or promotional material.

2. Offer office or lobby space to showcase an art exhibit. Host a “Meet the Artist” night where, for a small outlay of resources for wine and cheese, guests can mix and mingle while viewing a community based-attraction.

3. Form a series of brown bag lunches where staff members can brainstorm ways for the organization to go even greener. Engage employees directly on what they would like to do to make their office, and the world, a more sustainable environment.

4. Establish a company-wide volunteer day where all levels of the organization dedicate their 9-to-5 to cleaning up a park or readying a day camp for special needs kids. Not only making a positive impact on the community, but facilitating increased communications and relationship building among co-workers.

5. Sponsor a community event. Often times, there are many amazing causes that simply need financial support. Non-profit leaders are exceptional at making a big impact with even the smallest of donations. Added benefit is visibility for your organization in the community – as good corporate citizens, and in front of potential customers.

6. And finally, market and communicate your efforts. Numerous studies show the financial benefit that comes from “doing well by doing good” – including increased profitability, increased brand image and recognition, improved organizational reputation, increased employee satisfaction and customer loyalty – proving that CSR is truly a benefit to both organization and community.

Editor’s Note: A big Inkandescent congratulations to Roxanne on her marriage to Matthew Ladd this September. She planned the wedding, of course. The ceremony took place beside the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC and the reception was held on the patio of The Washington Post building. Just fabulous. Here’s to your happiness!

About Roxanne Rukowicz Ladd

Ranked one of the top meeting and event planners in Washington, DC, for 2009 and 2010 by the Washington Business Journal, Roxanne Rukowicz Ladd’s Behind the Scenes Events, opened its doors in July 2008 with a single concept: to offer organizations access to an affordable, full-service meeting- and event-planning solution.

Roxanne has worked in the Washington, DC, meeting and event industry for more than a decade, starting her career at the Greater Washington Board of Trade in 1999. Her experience with this influential regional network of business leaders began as a temporary work assignment, and progressed into a position as general manager.

Her extensive association and nonprofit planning skills are accented by experience working in the social and entertainment markets. Positions with the Walt Disney Companies and as a freelance wedding and special-event coordinator have provided opportunities with A-list celebrity clients and top-ranking government officials.

For more information, visit Behind the Scenes Events.