I am a proponent of using charitable events as a way of getting people together to promote your firm. Internally these events can be great for employee engagement. Externally they are great brand building exercises. Individually they can be great business development opportunities. As we work through the global pandemic, many of these activities have been modified or cancelled all together.
Like many of you, I have certain causes that are close to me. For that past few years I have participated in the Northern Pass (#NorthernPass2020) which is a cycling event in Muskoka that raises money for Princess Margaret Cancer Center. Instead of simply cancelling the event, they modified the ride to include five different challenges throughout the summer. Although we don’t get one great day now we have many ways to keep engagement.
Part of the fun of these charitable rides, as with most charitable events, is getting people together. During COVID, I have chosen to ride solo only so that opportunity to connect is lost. However, what I have found is that my group which includes friends, colleagues and business partners have maintained all the banter we would have on the bike through other tools. With the changes in format, we have actually been able to further challenge each other to raise funds for a good cause.
Other organizations that I support through our firm have found similar ways to keep their events going while ensuring safety and social distancing. The organizations that were able to quickly pivot and see an opportunity to change rather than cancel are excelling. Instead of events with silent auctions, they have taken the auction on-line. Others have shifted completely to create brand new events that they can manage safely.
Many of us are very lucky to be in the positions we are in and able to donate time and money to causes that are meaningful to us. While the pandemic may have changed what we choose to support, the idea of supporting a cause hasn’t. Maybe your firm rode the Big Bike for Heart and Stroke, participated with the United Way, or ran as part of the Santa Shuffle. As these events changes, see how your firm can change with them. Find ways to get staff and partners involved. Use these new opportunities to build your network and enhance current relationships.