I feel so privileged to be writing this blog post about events with purpose, because just a few years ago it seemed like a distant dream. My name is Hope Caldwell, and I am the founder of the KLH Group, a meeting and event management firm dedicated to meaningful, socially conscious events.
I was fortunate to spend the first decade of my event planning career in decadent, beautiful surroundings. At the time, I had a job with a company producing high end events and our clientele were among the country most successful corporations and foundations. All was well until 2012 when I served on a medical mission in Uganda, Africa. When I returned from Uganda I knew that my life’s trajectory had veered in a new direction. I still loved everything about planning lavish, unforgettable events for my clients. But now I was determined to implement a new vision. In this vision, I would combine customized, design-oriented events with my newfound determination to make a positive difference in the world. KLH Group was born.
By working with the KLH Group, you will have the opportunity to bring high end community service projects to your next conference, meeting or retreat.
Several years ago, I began to experiment with ideas for including community service projects as part of my clients’ corporate programs. The energy and excitement surrounding these early forays into Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was infectious and I realized that these community service projects were making my clients just as happy as they were making me. Everyone was winning. Simply put, there is no downside to a CSR event.
More and more, corporations are embracing socially conscious events, along with CSR initiatives outside of the events realm, such a making companies greener and more family-friendly. These events bring unity among a company’s employees and leave a lasting impression regarding what the company stands for and the quality of its leadership. When the event is over, the company has given to a deserving child, school or community and has also achieved a leg up over it competitors. What’s more, CSR programs appeal to socially-conscious employees and consumers – the best type of people to work with. Several studies have shown that better-qualified job candidates are more likely to care about company’s corporate social performance. Indeed, a company’s CSR standing is so important to today’s job candidates that DHR International, a leading global executive search firm, refers to CSR as a “beacon for top talent”. In other words, CSR programs both inspire current employees and attract future talent. These programs and events are truly a win-win.
Corporate responsibility can manifest in a variety of ways. Many companies have implemented environmentally-friendly practices, which can mean anything from using halogen light bulbs to building a fully-functioning, sustainable office building from the ground up. Other efforts are more nuanced or policy-oriented, such as adopting family friendly polices like extended parental leave and flextime. A widely-read article by Sammi Caramela at Business News Daily breaks CSR into the following four categories:
- Environment Efforts
- Ethical Labor Practices
It’s the fourth category – volunteering – that is the KLH group’s focus. By working with KLH companies can incorporate volunteerism into their meetings, annual retreats or group outings. I can guarantee that participating in a fulfilling volunteer activity will leave a lasting impression on your team, and will keep them feeling united through the year. It’s something your employees will proudly tell their spouses, families, and friends about.
The wonderful thing about CSR is that it’s compatible with a company’s profits and overall success. Doing good for the world and doing well financially are not mutually exclusive. The welding of profit and global citizenship is best summarized by the idea of the “triple bottom line”, a phrase first used in 1994 by John Elkington. Elkington argues that in addition to the traditional accounting of profits and gross revenues, businesses should also keep track of their environmental and social impacts – the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit.
In recent years, more research has come out supporting the profitability of CSR initiatives. This is wonderful news for companies fearful that CSR practices might not be worth the initial investment. Studies have shown that CSR programs improve employee retention, stakeholder engagement, and consumer loyalty, and increased demand for a company’s product.
So yes, CSR does seem to up the “profit” portion of the bottom line. But aside from that, there is the simple benefit of social good will. Doing good is infectious. The decision to incorporate a CSR project into your next corporate event will inspire your participants, inspire their friends and family and inspire other companies and organization to do the same. It’s a domino effect.
At the KLH Group, we want to help you be a part of this. An event with the KLH Group is different than what you’ll find with other event producers because at every step along the way, our goal is to inspire our clients and bring them out of their comfort zones, all while making a positive difference in the community.
At core, the why in what we do is to create a cultural of generosity through experiences that matter.
Hope Caldwell is an event producer with over 12 years experience in planning and executing private and corporate events for Fortune 500 companies. She has produced concerts, product launches, weddings, week-long conferences, and fundraising galas. Hope founded the KLH Group in 2016. She is also the founder of Doors to Dream, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of children through innovative service projects. Alongside her husband, Hope co-founded the Spokes Group Charleston, a nonprofit providing bicycle to deserving children. She passionately serves the people of East Africa, leading medical missionary trips to Uganda with OneWorldHealth.
With a passion for serving others and empowering people to grown and excel, Hope remains active in the community and serves as a mentor. She stands firm in the idea that her clients have an inner desire to give back to the community, and when given the opportunity will say YES to creating a culture of generosity, one event at a time. Hope resides in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband and son.