Editor's Blog

Pay as you go

Last Friday I found myself aboard a river boat, gliding along the tranquil waters of the Thames. Dappled sunshine added an extra degree of sparkle to my glass of champagne and a cool breeze took the edge off the levelling afternoon sun. Not my usual day in the office. I’m heading upstream towards the verdant majesty of Cliveden House, a stately home so loaded with sophistication and intrigue that every brick resonates like a historical hard-drive packed with anecdotes; many of which would make your hair stand on end.

I’ve been invited on board the Melody, Bateaux Windsor’s elegant cruiser, alongside a selection of eventprofs and their lucky partners for a day-long showcase of ‘the Best of British’. It’s a FAM but a FAM with a difference; three different suppliers, Bateaux Windsor, Cliveden House and Sarova Hotels, have teamed up to present an itinerary that essentially underlines what they do best, sublime hospitality. Now, we all love our little luxuries and we’re often spoilt by the seemingly endless FAM trips on offer, the proposition today however is that everyone has stumped up £50 to join the group, space is limited to 20 people so this is not a money making exercise, or rather it is, but not in the way you think. The money raised will be donated to industry charity Meeting Needs.

We’re happy to report that everyone involved thought this was an excellent idea and why wouldn’t they? Fifty pounds is not much, but if every FAM trip introduced this bounty then it would soon build up. We’d like to see this spread. Meeting Needs does fantastic work across the globe, it’s not hindered by the usual NGO administrative behemoth, it’s staffed by a tiny group of committed people who give their time and expertise to ensure its run with transparency and professionalism.

But don’t take my word for it, here’s what uber-eventprof and Meeting Needs chairperson Jennifer Jenkins has to say about it. “Meeting Needs is the event industry charity – your charity. You can choose where the money goes and see the change you make. You can pick a project, take ownership of it, see the benefits of the contribution you have made.  Meeting Needs enables you to get close to the causes we support and engage with them.” 

Goodwill aside for a moment, I can understand that not all FAMs are champagne-quaffing, five-star free-for-alls that have people clamouring to join. If you’re having a hard time making the numbers for your FAM then the idea of then slapping on a ‘charity tax’ may not seem like the greatest idea. Your supporting partners may not be corporate giants or wealthy DMCs, your margins may be tighter than a tight thing, but the concept is good.

You can add it to your CSR punch card, you’ll mark yourself as someone who takes these trips seriously (remember this, we do). Most of all it’ll make you feel good about yourself while you’re sipping champagne on a boat when you should be in the office toiling over a hot spreadsheet. 

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  • Tim Chudley 06/09/2017 Of: Sundial Group

    A wonderful initiative, big kudos to Sarova and Cliveden. We are all so lucky to work in the hospitality sector, I bet there are other creative people out there who can come up with ways to give something back by raising funds for Meeting Needs, in own sector charity.

  • David Hackett 07/09/2017 Of: Meetings Guru

    What a wonderful and generous initiative - driven I suspect by the ever supportive Lisa Lernoux-Dock but backed by the three organisations.
    Fam trips should always have value to participants and those who are showcasing their products & services but to have them deliver value to some of the most needy communities and people on this planet by generating funds for charity is another level of benefit.
    So sipping champagne now becomes "socially responsible". Brilliant!
    And thank you to those fundraisers who choose to route their monies via Meeting Needs. It allows us to change lives. Cheers.

  • Richard Waddington 07/09/2017 Of: EMA

    Great to see the industry supporting Meeting Needs and linking initiatives such as Fam Trips. MI-Forums have come up with a great concept Tour de Mice with the first one being in December in Tenerif. Attendees are encouraged to do some fund raising for Meeting Needs www.mi-forums.com/suppliers/active/2017/Tour_de_MICE.aspx