One Way to Revolutionize How We Network at Conferences? Service Events One Way to Revolutionize How We Network at Conferences? Service Events
One Way to Revolutionize How We Network at Conferences? Service Events
The Daily GOOD
Get our daily dose of information and inspiration. Sign up Now ›
Most conference-goers would likely agree that the main perk is networking. Of course we are inspired by the speakers, but there is nothing quite like connecting with old friends or finding new people who share the same interests.
Making personal and professional connections greatly enhances the enjoyment and value of these gatherings, but unfortunately, this networking is usually limited to meals, breaks, and receptions.
At a recent conference, AMD’s Corporate Responsibility Team tested a concept to enhance the networking experience at conferences, while also doing some good for the local community. The idea is to stage a volunteer event as another dimension to the conference networking experience.
The white paper on this idea, "Bringing Action into the Agenda: Crowdsourcing Volunteerism at Corporate Events," details the benefits and process of holding a volunteer event during a conference or gathering.
The paper is based on a case study from the 2012 South by Southwest (SXSW) Eco conference where AMD and partnering organizations recruited a “Green Army” of volunteers from the conference, local citizens, and local employers. Collectively the group cleaned up more than 20 blocks of an urban waterway, but more relevant to this topic of networking, there were countless valuable interactions and relationships made in the process.
From the white paper:
By adding a volunteer event, attendees can engage with peers in a context that, by its very nature, facilitates interaction. Working side-by-side with others builds a sense of camaraderie, accomplishment, and trust that can shape deeper and long-lasting relationships.
During the volunteer event, we saw strangers transform into partners as they helped one another pull debris from the creek, plant trees, identify invasive species, and make “seedballs” to restore burned areas with native plants. The networking experience was immensely effective and contributed in a meaningful way to the local environment. We believe this nexus of volunteering to support the community and enhance professional networking is a vast opportunity.
As one of the volunteers said the experience provided “a chance to chat with fellow SXSW Eco attendees and get a break from the conference center. I suggest holding more events like this throughout the conference. It was a highlight and has greatly inspired me.”
Our hope is that documenting and sharing our experiences in the white paper [click to download] will help more organizations and conference hosts integrate volunteerism into conference agendas. Imagine the good we could do if this concept became a trend with the majority of conferences around the world.
Author's Note: I am the Global Sustainability Manager for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). My postings are of my own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions.
The Hammock Company Fighting Malaria (From Mom and Dad’s House) Greg McEvilly built a company that produces mosquito-proof hammocks while sleeping under his parents’ roof.
Why Do Happy People Make The Suburbs Look Even More Depressing? There’s a reason engagement photos aren’t normally taken where the couple actually plans on living
Keeping a Pakistani Artisan Culture from Going Extinct Lahore-based social entrepreneurs support local craftsmen by selling men’s shoes named after an endangered goat
Can You Cut Your Water Consumption by 90 Percent for 24 Hours? A nonprofit challenges people to live off a gallon of water a day, instead of dumping it on their heads
A Love Letter to Philadelphia A personal look into the city from the local poet, muscian, singer, and educator
You Can’t Print a Photo from Outer Space On Polyester Celine Semaan Vernon’s new fashion project is a cosmic experiment in empathy.
Forget the Ouija Board If you want to get into divination this Halloween season, check out these alternatives to the game that rhymes with ‘squeegee’
The Standards are Too Damn High An African leadership prize that frequently has no winners has sparked a debate over whether standards of excellence can turn self-defeating.
Stop Chasing the “It” Pumpkin One man’s brave stance against pricey heirloom gourds fouling up fall.
Skid Row Is Here to Stay The largest, and probably proudest, homeless community in the United States is becoming a powerful interest group in Los Angeles.
How to Raise $750,000 for Charity, the YouTuber Way Rising YouTube sensations like Tyler Oakley and Connor Franta mobilize their massive fan base for a cause Next time your birthday rolls around, consider what these enterprising stars did to celebrate theirs.
Chelsea Handler Tries Making Fun Of Andy’s Weight. It Backfires Immediately. An embarrassingly bad attempt to make fun of Andy’s weight