Thursday, 11 August 2011

Making the unseen, seen

Anyone who has spent any time in the event industry knows the front of house and back of house are two different worlds. On the public side of the ‘black curtain’: professional polished event space. Branded. Beautiful. On the other side of the 'black curtain': drab, worn corridors traversed by tired, hurried staff. Operational. Unglamorous.

It dawned on me recently that sometimes we in the event industry approach corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the same way. There is front of house CSR, and back of house CSR.

Front of house CSR includes the experience elements that we love to talk about. Feel-good, educational networking opportunities for attendees. Food bank work. Soap recycling. Tree planting. Puppy care. Hospital art projects. These are all great and worthy projects that help to add to the experience of our event. They’re highly visible, interesting and great for story-telling.

Back of house CSR includes aspects of social responsibility that are unseen. We talk a lot less about them. Sometimes they make us uncomfortable. They don’t often have simple solutions. They aren't necessarily marketable. But they are no less important, even if more invisible.

What does back of house CSR relate to? Think:
Anyone taking back of house CSR front of house? Are you having deeper conversations about social responsibility that go beyond the volunteer CSR projects? Who else is ready to make the unseen seen?

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