The idea of combining practical team building activities with a charitable cause is one that comes up frequently across a broad spectrum of our clients. It’s a lovely notion, building team cohesion whilst working on a great cause together could improve your team’s performance at the same time as addressing corporate social responsibility commitments – two birds with one stone!
Client ideas often include picking litter, building bikes, painting fences and planting trees. It sounds like a wholesome way to spend an afternoon after a morning meeting BUT there are a few very real challenges for organisers to consider.
In any practical team building event participants typically find themselves undertaking a challenge with little or no pre warning or preparation. In many ways the surprise element is often of key importance to the experience. When you are building a Lego tower or moving a barrel with ropes this is fine. Although failure can be a great vehicle for learning about your team’s behaviours, outside of the activity it really doesn’t matter that your team haven’t moved the barrel correctly. When building bikes for children however it really does matter. When a member of your team has never built a bike before and, up until one hour ago didn’t know they had to build a bike, we can’t be surprised if the bike isn’t roadworthy. How relaxed will you be about your public liability as you watch little Timmy peddle away into the distance on the bike supplied by your organisation?
The Problem of Managing Risk
“Picking litter or clearing gardens is surely a great idea!?”. As an events company one of our biggest costs is insurance, risk assessment and risk management. When we ask a client to undertake one of our activities we do so after careful consideration of the risk. Picking litter sounds innocuous (and cheap) but what are you asking your staff to pick up and are they safe in doing so?
The Issue of Cost
A major challenge for organisations opting for a practical charity team building event is the perceived cost. “We can do that for free!” – the problem is that peace of mind costs money. The costs of a team building provider such as EML delivering a safe, professional and fully insured charity team build is the same as one of our more ‘off the shelf’ formats in fact, if you are hoping to donate thousands of pounds worth of bikes at the end of the event, then it will be considerably more.
Ok so what CAN we do?
There is plenty you can do as a team to raise money for charity whilst avoiding these headaches..
Team Sponsorship / Team Participation. Undertaking a properly vetted, largescale challenge as a team such as a sponsored road cycling event, walking (Three Peaks), sport relief or children in need are great examples of safe ways to have a positive CSR impact whilst safely building a better team.
Team Fundraiser (webpage). Organising a fundraiser such an auction night, quiz, horse race night or fun casino for example is a safe, fun and effective way of bringing a team together, potentially networking with clients and raising money for a great cause of your choice.
Donate you Team Building Budget to Charity. Sounds boring but most charities need your financial support more than anything else. Why donate the bulk of you offsite budget and then celebrate your team’s generosity with an informal and cost-effective staff curry night?
Use a professional organiser but be prepared to pay for it. Still want to run a bespoke, practical and professional charity-based team build at your next conference? Brilliant! We can help. When budgeting for your event however be prepared for the typical cost of a team build AND that of your charitable donation in the final bill.
EML Team has worked with hundreds of public and private sector clients over the last 20 years and as such we have a lot of experience of delivering charity-based team building activities of this nature. The one thing in common with these events is how unique they are to each customer. Why not get in touch now on +44(0)1905 330660 / firstname.lastname@example.org for an informal chat about what your unique charity team building event could look like?