Social Impact & Innovation Conference Wrap-Up (Summer 2017)

[We are continuing our series on the highlights and key takeaways from social impact and innovation conferences around the world. You can view our calendar of upcoming conferences, and let us know of others you’d like to share!]

As we shifted into summer, we saw movers and shakers around the world come together to create, discuss, and implement solutions for current world challenges.

This year’s +Impact East Conference focused on workplace giving and volunteering. America’s Charities released preliminary findings from their Snapshot2017 survey of more than 1,500 employee donors. They noted that workplace giving is alive and thriving, and that a winning recruitment and retention strategy is emphasizing employee community engagement, such as paid time off to volunteer, company match, and volunteer service grants. Other issues explored included a presentation by actress Nzinga Blake, who explained the secret ingredients of storytelling for social impact: the why, what’s at stake, and the call to action. Everyone (staff, volunteers, clients, etc.) loves a good story and can take inspiration from it!

The Social Innovation Summit 2017 in Chicago brought together innovative thinkers and global leaders to develop and advance the most impactful social partnerships. In one workshop discussion, participants shared ideas for scaling successful innovations on a global level, including how to invest time and resources into identifying local partners in your communities who share your visions and understanding how initiatives with similar visions can complement each other, rather than compete.

We heard from Van Jones how “There are two political parties in the country: The ‘Give a Damn’ party and the ‘Don’t Give a Damn’ party.” With the overall agreement that now is the time to do something, we realized the importance of blending our passions with our frustrations. One important reminder is that we all have a seat at the table to make significant changes because it is up to us to solve the problems of our time.

This year, B1G1 decided to bring their Business for Good Conference to changemakers throughout the world, hosting their conference in Miami, the UK, and Australia. Celebrating the 10-year anniversary conference and the Decade of Giving, the goal was to help businesses incorporate giving into everyday business activity.

Through this forum, we learned the power of small: that through B1G1, 108 million micro-giving impacts were created. We heard from presenters that collaboration and interaction are key components to create more good in the world. We heard from Phillip Owens on how to build a greater culture in order to create action plans to connect with other entrepreneurs. He added, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

These summer conferences remind us to take what we learn and spread those ideas, so that we can all be part of a larger business community that demands change and makes a difference. We should take note of the words of  Julie Smith, speaker at the +Impact East Conference and CAO of Bozzuto, a real estate services organization that focuses on environmental concern while building homes and communities:

“Including CSR as part of your company culture is a win-win for communities and the company… I believe it’s well worth senior management’s time to understand how to harness CSR and what you gain from that effort, as it really helps drive company contributions.”

Also, check out our wrap-up of Spring 2017 social impact and innovation conferences around the world.

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