SITE - Millennials are Redefining Corporate Social Responsibility

29th Feb, 2016

Millennials are a must-engage group when it comes to CSR. Conveying CSR efforts to Millennials requires a unique approach.

By 2020 Millennials will comprise 50% of the global workforce. According to research from Cone Communications, “Millennials are universally more engaged in corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts and are, above and beyond, more likely to participate in CSR initiatives if given the opportunity.” This means that, more than ever before, we as professional meeting and incentive planners need to ensure that we are creating CSR opportunities that specifically target this group. 

Healthy Lifestyle
I recently read an interesting statistic in a Goldman Sachs study on Millennials’ attitudes on wellness. For this generation wellness is defined as so much more than simply being ‘not sick’ – it’s a daily commitment to an overall healthy lifestyle. Millennials preferences for fun, personalised workouts, healthy foods and holistic wellness are fueling trends with far-reaching implications for the travel and hospitality industry.

Wellness is one of the areas that we, as a DMC, have focused on over the last number of years to ensure that we are catering to these preferences in our programmes. For example, at many of our meetings and events we supply bikes for delegates to get from meeting spot A to B, in addition to the traditional bus transfer. We also provide guides for delegates to walk the route to venues that are within walking distance.

When looking to leave a CSR legacy in an incentive travel destination we like to incorporate a wellness element into a suggested activity. One example is to revisit the traditional ‘treasure hunt’ experience and instead provide delegates an opportunity to work together towards a positive, common goal of “giving back” to the destination. We supply each team with buckets, spades, seeds, saplings and a GPS unit with co-ordinates that they need to follow. At each of the designated spots there is the opportunity for the team to plant a tree/create a garden along their trail – leaving a beautiful and lasting mark on the local destination.

You need only look to IMEX. Last year, both in Frankfurt and Las Vegas, an early morning fun run was attended by hundreds of delegates that wanted to get up and get active. And, during the SITE Global Conference last year in New Delhi, India, we offered an early morning yoga and meditation session.

The need to be challenged
Millenials have come of age during a time of enormous economic and social disruption, and this gives them a very different set of attitudes and behaviours than previous generations. As an industry, when we consider CSR effort, we need to focus a lot more on current global issues rather than just localised ones. So many events are now happening that are affecting the world as a whole, rather than being specific to just one destination. One example is the current migrant crisis that speaks closely to the Millennial generation, as they are growing up experiencing this first hand. CSR programmes are now including opportunities for a company to give back to the migrant community by offering ‘English as a second language’ classes and supporting employees whose relatives are still living in unsafe areas.

Millennials are not looking for tried and tested programmes – they enjoy the unknown, and want to be challenged. So it’s up to us, as experiential specialists, to be more creative and unique than ever before.

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This article is a contribution by Aoife Delaney, CIS, SITE President-elect and Director of Global Sales, Ovation Global DMC

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