Giving Back

What’s the Value of Volunteering?

Are your corporate social responsibility efforts worthwhile? Marc Morial, the National Urban League’s president and CEO, offers advice.

If you wonder whether your corporate social responsibility efforts are worthwhile, Marc Morial, the National Urban League’s president and CEO, offers a resounding yes. Before joining NUL in 2003, Morial served two terms as mayor of New Orleans. He saw firsthand the impact of convention volunteers on the city, whether they were painting houses or reading to children. And the volunteers, he thinks, benefited as much as the city’s residents.

“They see a part of the city they don’t normally see, and some of the challenges that communities face,” Morial said. “They also connect with the spirited people who are working to overcome those challenges.” To increase the involvement of volunteers, Morial recommends that CVBs create an inventory of community projects they can recommend to meeting planners. “The idea is to make it easy,” he said, “so it’s not a logistical headache.”

Another resource:, a website and database where nearly 40 destinations have provided information about ways to give back in their communities, including guidance about the length of activities, the kinds and sizes of groups that they are best suited for, and how to contact organizers. The project is supported by PCMA and other industry organizations.

Ken Budd

Contributing Editor Ken Budd is a freelance writer based in Burke, Virginia, author of the memoir The Voluntourist, and host of “650,000 Hours,” a new digital series about travel and volunteering.