Cultivating a Heart for Community

When we come together as industry professionals and delegates at conferences and meetings, we have a unique opportunity to reach out to the cities where we are meeting and help improve the lives of the people that live and work there.

At IMEX America each year, a number of community Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects are undertaken with the assistance of attendees and partners. turning opportunities to help into lasting legacy CSR programs.

Following are some highlights of what’s planned for this year’s IMEX America week starting October 17, 2016 followed by five tips for creating your own community outreach programs at your events.

Community Heart at IMEX America 2016

The 6th annual IMEX America will again be hopping with business, networking, and learning, but also with giving back to the local Las Vegas community, just as it’s done since year one.

With the help of attendees and partners, the show will have even more heart this year. Here’s how you can get involved:

Badge Back Program When attendees leave the show they are encouraged to drop their show badges into one of two “badge back” bins, effectively voting to support one of two Las Vegas community organizations: The Shade Tree, or Opportunity Village. The Shade Tree gives homeless and abused women and children safe harbor, providing over 80,000 nights of shelter each year. Opportunity Village is a skill and job training as well artistic program for people with intellectual disabilities.

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A financial donation is made to each organization for each badge received, so dropping your badge into the bins when you leave the show is a positive contribution. In addition, badges are recycled and reused by the Las Vegas Teachers Exchange so it is a great win-win solution all around.

Over the years IMEX has also done several additional projects with The Shade Tree to extend the love. Last year, working with show sustainability partner Meet Green, a recycling program was created for the shelter, and Song Division helped residents and show attendees create a tune to encourage use of the new green set-up.

Choose to support causes and target groups that are nearest
and dearest to the heart of your organization
or client’s business, and create programs in those areas.

In 2014 IMEX organizers and attendees built a healing garden for The Shade Tree with the generous help and support of The Las Vegas Sands Corp (parent company of the Sands Expo, The Venetian, and The Palazzo) and Global Experience Specialists (GES.)

Clean the World  An extension the difference IMEX organizers, partners and attendees are making for The Shade Tree, Clean the World also heads up a booth on the show floor where buyers and exhibitors can dig in and create toiletry kits.  These kits include new, packaged toiletries recycled from unused hotel amenities like soap, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. By giving just a few moments of your time on the show floor you can help in the effort. It makes a great team activity and you can Tweet or Instagram a group photo of your people or clients making a difference! Last year 2,000 kits were made for delivery to Shade Tree residents and we hope — with your help — to clean up again this year!

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Garbage Grabbers  If helping the earth and enjoying the outdoors is your groove, a CSR program at IMEX America 2016—Garbage Grabbers might be just the ticket.

Garbage Grabbers – Clean Up in Las Vegas
is a new project where IMEX America is working with the Outside Las Vegas Foundation (the premier volunteer coordinator for nature and the outdoors in southern Nevada) to help clean up local walking trails and parks. This will take place on Monday, October 17 from 3:30–6:00 p.m. Attendees are invited to join IMEX America staff and Las Vegas residents in this effort. To get involved please contact Milda Salciute.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group commented: “We’re thrilled to be launching this new project, which gives a fresh dimension to our legacy work in Las Vegas. It naturally complements our existing partnerships with The Shade Tree and Opportunity Village and gives industry volunteers a brand new way to show their love of the environment while, hopefully, make lifelong friends and new business connections.”

Inspiration Hub Last, but certainly not least, there will again be education sessions focusing on community CSR and sustainability at the Inspiration Hub on the show floor. A searchable listing of classes, including these topics, is now available online.

5 Community CSR Tips from IMEX

So now that you know what’s going in Vegas to pay it forward, here are some tips you can use for your own events, whether they are in one location or several: the country or the world.

Don’t be Afraid to Think Small Community CSR efforts don’t have to be huge, sweeping gestures. You can start small and still make a big difference.

Stay Focused Choose to support causes and target groups that are nearest and dearest to the heart of your organization or clients’ business and create programs in those areas. You’ll make more of an impact over time and also connect your brand with goodwill for that cause.

Seek Partnerships Don’t try to go it alone. Seek alliances with attendees, suppliers, partners, other local organizations, and associations to make it happen.

Tie Into Sustainability If you are able to link your efforts with the reduce, reuse, recycle efforts of your venues, organization or industry, all the better. This way you are essentially creating twice the good for people and for the environment.

Think Legacy vs. One-Off  Like any business initiative, the more long-term you think, plan and execute, the more lasting effects and value you create. It is less effective to do one great community program once and then never be heard from again. Community benefits, goodwill and great ideas grow over time.

We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas again this year and to making a difference together!

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