Home' micenet eMag : micenet October 2017 Contents MEA UPDATE | ROBYN JOHNSON
he majority of meetings and events
held today have an element of
corporate social responsibility in
their programs designed to give
back to a local or international charity or the
community in some other way. This
contribution can be made in so many ways,
such as the donation of books or materials to
under-privileged schools, fundraising, planting
trees, building infrastructure, upgrading
facilities and many, many more.
A recent example of how one such program
impacted a local community is an event held in
Far North Queensland. The Cairns Convention
Centre hosted 500 plumbers and electricians at
the annual LaserCon Conference in June 2017.
The LaserCon Agenda included an off-site
LaserCon Taskforce Day that put the
attendees’ skills to use by undertaking much-
needed upgrades to the Centennial Lodge, a
community facility run by the Salvation Army.
The lodge provides care and assistance to
some of Cairns’ most vulnerable and was in
urgent need of repairs to its plumbing and
electrical systems in the 35 residence rooms
and common areas.
Captain Cara Brackstone from the
Centennial Lodge said: “The LaserCon
delegates not only provided their labour but
also the supplies to undertake the work. They
have created a new physical space that will
support the wellbeing for those who need a
refuge. We cannot thank them enough.”
IMPACT OF EVENTS
Additionally, in conjunction with LaserCon, 15 bike riders peddled from Melbourne to Cairns
to raise money for Beyond Blue. The bikes were parked in the foyer of the convention centre
and conference attendees were encouraged to donate to this great cause. This activity raised
$100,000 by LaserCon delegates.
There are many more stories that largely go ‘under the radar’ because the organisers are
simply motivated to provide assistance and don’t seek publicity for their efforts. Their key driver
is to make a difference. Events create unique opportunities to achieve meaningful social goals in
ways that individuals are less likely to consider.
The Elvis Festival held in Parkes NSW is now approaching its 25th year. This event was
established by the local community to fill the town during a very quiet time of year. As with most
country centres, the month of January is often deserted as locals take annual leave to the coast
to enjoy hot summer days by the sea.
The first festival in 1993 attracted 300 for a one night performance. The festival has grown to
become a five-day long event of all things Elvis. The festival now attracts 22,000, doubling the
population of Parkes each year. It has a global media reach of 80 million and injects more than
$11m into the regional economy.
For Parkes locals it has increased the sense of pride that they feel towards their town. There
is also a clear sense that it helps raise awareness of Parkes. It is frequently mentioned that the
festival “puts Parkes on the map”. Many of the locals volunteer to run the event and a number
open up their homes to welcome visitors.
These stories are rarely captured, or if they are, they are easily forgotten. There is no avenue
to record, report or measure the social impact. It is a difficult task to evaluate the total
contribution; in fact it would be almost impossible to track. The stories are too varied and are
not often publicised.
MEA recognises the importance of these contributions and has created a portal on the MEA
website to record the scope and range of support, whether financial or in kind. Event organisers
and organisations are invited to complete the template with the details the contribution their
event has made, provide testimonials and upload photos. This information will form part of an
annual report that MEA can use to promote the value of business events.
In addition, MEA has included an Event Legacy Award in its new-look National Awards
Program. All entries submitted for this award, together with others posted on the portal, will be
included in the MEA Annual Legacy Report. Details of how to enter for this Award will be
launched in October this year. m
Recent research found that business events contribute $30.2 billion to the
Australian economy each year. What about the social legacies? How do
business events impact communities?
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