Bringing a CSR Element to Your Incentive

Last month Points of Light Foundation encouraged people to share their stories for National Volunteer Week.  This week was dedicated to recognizing those that volunteer their time and resources to better others in communities near and far.  Support poured in from the President, Congress, Leaders and community groups across the country.  At JNR we see first hand the impact that service projects have, not only on the recipients, but also on the volunteers themselves.

Incorporating a Community Service element into an Incentive program is a wonderful way to give back to the community that hosts your once-in-a-lifetime event. Although these Incentives are a time to celebrate the hard work of your top achievers, we have found that to give people the opportunity to spend a day bettering the lives of others further enhances the overall experience.

JNR Incorporated understands the importance of volunteerism and encourages clients to bring in an element of corporate social responsibility to their program. Corporate social responsibility, also known as CSR, refers to a business practice that involves activities that benefit a segment of society. From revamping a school in Mexico, to building a playground for children in the Caribbean, to packaging “essential packs” for families in need here in the U.S., JNR with our DMC and Tour partners make many programs meaningful for both our clients and the community with a custom CSR day.

Regardless of your approach, volunteerism is about inspiring people to find ways to help their community.  Although the experience is usually gratifying enough, week long events like National Volunteer Week recognize those who do this and give them a forum to post about their experiences and to share ideas and stories of what they have done to give back.

Working with an Incentive partner like JNR can help your organization create a culture of good will for your next big meeting or trip.  However, if you want to create something for your company as a whole, not just those joining you on an Incentive program, advancements in technology and social networking have made giving back easier than ever. Below are a few simple ways to make your mark:

  • Donate money / goods to a favorite charity
  • Visit your local animal shelter
  • Give blood at a blood drive
  • Plant a community garden
  • Assist at an elementary school
  • Volunteer at a retirement home
  • Clean trash from the beach
  • Work with kids with special needs
  • Teach a class at a local community service center
  • Organize a food drive

Mark your calendars for next year’s National Volunteer Week April 23-29, 2017 and notice the lift in morale amongst your employees. Contact JNR for information on bringing a CSR element into your next Meeting or Incentive program and see the impact that experience has on your top performers, overall employee engagement and ultimately, your bottom line.


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For more information on CSRs read our blog here.


JNR Incorporated is a globally recognized leader specializing in creating custom programs that motivate, engage and reward the employees, customers and channel members of our Fortune 1000 clients. For over 35 years, JNR has designed and delivered a comprehensive suite of solutions including incentive travel, prepaid reward and gift cards, meetings and conferences, events and entertainment, technology solutions and marketing communications.  Our programs produce measurable results and are proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Richard Branson Thinks Hospitality and Tourism Industry Can Tackle Global Water Crisis

The Hospitality and Tourism Industry is significant to our interests here at JNR. It is the field where we join other companies to deliver our incentive travel programs, meetings and events. Branson believes in this industry, driving change in environmental, health and economic issues is also good for business.

The issue the Hospitality and Tourism Industry is being called to address: providing the world access to safe and clean water. Through this transformation, the industry stands to benefit across its triple bottom-line: people, planet, and profits.

A recent article published by Richard Branson describes the severity of the global water crisis.

“Every year, more people die from water-related diseases than killed from all forms of violence, including war.”

One billion people lack access to safe water. Last year, one billion people traveled. Why not leverage the power of the Hospitality and Tourism Industry to solve the world water crisis?

Branson, no stranger to humanitarian projects himself, has formed a partnership with his company Virgin and WHOLE WORLD Water, an organization that is attempting to unite with the Hospitality and Tourism Industry to create solutions that drive change on water issues.

The company has been helping hotels, resorts restaurants and hospitality groups filter and bottle their own water and then use a percentage of the proceeds to support local water projects. Approximately 200,000 plastic bottles will be saved annually by implementing this program on Necker Island (Branson maintains a home there) alone.

Branson feels the hospitality industry plays a major role in fixing this problem and that it could set an example for other industries to follow:

“It is estimated that with scale, the hospitality and tourism industry can contribute $1 billion per year or more to help eradicate this problem. United, the industry has the opportunity to set a precedence for other sectors to follow.”

JNR is dedicated to helping our clients implement CSR programs in conjunction with our travel programs and events to preserve and improve our planet and the lives of those who inhabit it. Please send us an email at today to discuss how you can create a change within your programs.

Suggested Reading:

“From ‘Me’ to ‘We’: The Power of Corporate Social Responsibility in Incentive Programs”

JNR Program Participants Revamp a Mexican School

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Sir Richard Branson” by Jarle Naustvik is licensed under CC By 2.0

JNR Program Participants Revamp a Mexican School

Thank you for all your help, the new chairs, the curtains, teacher’s desks and their chairs, everything is so pretty!”

Everyone likes to know that their actions are appreciated and valued, so it is quite rewarding to hear the preceding words thrown your way, regardless of context. When you find out that they were said by a 5th grader, it makes them downright heartwarming.

Feedback like this is what Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs are all about. Volunteering your time, resources and efforts to better the lives of those less fortunate than you is the foundation for many CSR programs. Aside from the warm feelings created, these programs are very effective in improving the performance of companies by encouraging customer loyalty, attracting top talent and engaging employees. A 2013 study by Reputation Institute on Reputation and Corporate Social Responsibility found that 73% of consumers across the 15 largest markets are willing to recommend a company based on their CSR activities.

CSR initiatives that cover ethical issues relating to environment, human rights, supply-chain sustainability, consumers and transparency with corporate governance are so important that a 2013 survey found that 97% of companies surveyed had an operating budget for them in place. This was up 16% from the study in 2010 and a sign that these programs are not going away. Two other interesting statistics from the same article note that 80% of the 250 most profitable companies globally filed CSR reports in 2008 and 72% stated that they would pick a job at an “eco-friendly company” over others if they had the choice.

With all of this in mind, JNR is consistently working with clients to create CSR programs that operate in conjunction with our incentive travel, meeting and event programs. There is no better time to give back to a community than when all of your top team members are gathered in another part of the world and presented with the chance to better the lives of locals. Participants will leave the destination with everlasting memories of not only the fun they had, but also of their worthwhile contributions to their hosting community.

On a recent sales incentive program that we implemented for a large client in Punta Mita, Mexico, we gave the participants a chance to help make some much needed renovations to Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla elementary school in Nuevo Corral del Risco.

While luxuriating in a trip to paradise, our client’s program participants came to the school and carried out a complete overhaul to reinvigorate the campus. Always with a smile, the attendees repainted the school, planted trees, fixed damaged restrooms, set up brand new chairs and completed other miscellaneous activities.

One student exclaimed:  “I would like to be like you when I grow up and help the kids in my hometown ‘Corral del Risco’, and all those I can help.”

This six-grader also said that he had always dreamed of a nicer school like he had seen in popular movies and that it was now a reality due to the efforts of the program participants. Even more importantly, this child appears inspired to give back in the future and continue the cycle of kindness.

All financial and business objectives aside, being a responsible corporation, is a beautiful thing because lives are directly improved through selfless acts. These program participants will likely never forget the amazing days and nights they spent on the pristine beaches of Punta Mita, but the words of thanks from the children that they inspired and helped may be even more strongly engrained.

We leave you with a few more quotes from children who were impacted by this program.

6th Grader: Thank you for the new students chairs.

3rd Grade: You are the best, thank you!

4th Grader: Wish you were here to say hi and thank you!

2nd Grader: Thank you for choosing my school from all of the rest!

6th Grader: Thank you for your support.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Yahoo Employee Volunteers” by Alex Pearson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Green Meetings: Why, How and Where to Hold Them

Business meetings can vary greatly in size, setting and tone, but the purpose of any successful meeting is to improve the company in some way. A meeting can be arranged to achieve objectives such as increasing sales, optimizing productivity, awarding top achievers, inspiring new ideas or producing a safer work environment.

A green meeting in particular is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “one that is organized and implemented in such a way as to minimize negative impacts on the environment and promote a positive social legacy for the host community.” The EPA recently deemed the meetings and events industry as the second most-wasteful sector in the U.S. due to the far-reaching environmental footprint left behind by air travel, audiovisual equipment, food waste and other elements.

As a result of this alarming news, many key players in the industry have addressed the problem directly and joined the movement to promote environmental sustainability. Some venues have received LEED and other green-building certifications while recycling, composting, green roofs and other eco-measures are becoming much more common. Several organizations including the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC) released the ASTM/APEX standards for sustainable meetings further raising the bar on preserving environmental integrity.

At JNR Incorporated we have joined the movement to be socially responsible in our meetings in an effort to protect our planet for future generations. Ways in which we are achieving this include: utilizing local suppliers for gifts, hosting meetings at green-building certified locations, prioritizing email communication over paper collateral and using mobile ticketing, among other things. On-site, we are known to hire local services to repackage left-over food for donation, provide logo’d water bottles with fill stations to participants instead of wasteful plastic disposable water bottles and other sustainable approaches to our meeting coordination efforts. Our home building, Newport Gateway, is even LEED certified and boasts energy efficient HVAC and lighting along with practicing green cleaning and indoor air quality management. Efforts to continuously decrease our environmental footprint are ongoing.

One rather fascinating piece by GreenBiz Group editor Nikki Gloudeman listed the “Top 10 U.S. Cities for Green Meetings in 2014” and the results included a few surprises.

10. Cleveland – Two new neighboring meetings venues, The Cleveland Convention Center and Global Center for Health Innovation, were built around the principle of sustainability.

9. Washington D.C. – The Washington Marriott Marquis will open next month as the largest hotel in the city and is expected to be one of the largest properties in the nation with LEED Silver Certification.

8. Philadelphia – The Pennsylvania Convention Center earned a LEED Gold certification for its 2011 expansion and uses a host of products made from 100 percent decompostable [sic] and biodegradable products.

7. New York City – The Javits Center which is Manhattan’s main convention complex has added a seven-acre green roof to change the heat-island effect, reduce ambient temperature of the air and improve insulation while controlling storm water runoff.

6. Nashville – The brand new Music City Center convention center has 845 solar panels, four-acre green roof with a waterproofing membrane and 14 types of vegetation and roughly half of the material used in the building was sourced within 500 miles of the site.

5. Portland – The Oregon Convention Center was the first to earn LEED certification way back in 2004 and will be renovating in an attempt to upgrade its LEED status from Silver to Gold.

4. Orlando- The Orange County Convention Center is the second-largest venue with ASTM/APEX certification thanks to LED lighting and HVAC systems, Green Seal-certified cleaning products, irrigation systems that use reclaimed water and a solar PV system.

3. Chicago – McCormick Place is the largest convention center to earn ASTM certification and has reduced energy consumption by 1.6 million kWh and increased annual waste diversion rate by 10 percent recently to maintain this status.

2. Las Vegas – A city mainly known for excess has changed as far as meetings are concerned by becoming the first and only city in the world to garner next-tier Level Two ASTM/APEX certification for the LEED Gold Sands and Venetian and LEED Silver Palazzo.

1. Denver – Probably the least surprising city on the list due to its status as a pioneer in this area, Denver became the first city to earn APEX/ASTM certification in four separate sectors: destination, meeting venue, audiovisual and food and beverage (F&B).

For more information on how to hold sustainable events, please send us an email at or click here for ten easy tips from the GMIC. You can also read our blog from November of 2013 pinpointing sustainability as one of the five biggest megatrends in meetings and events.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

A Peek into the Crystal Ball for 2013 Predictions!

As we head into the upcoming new year (yikes! 2013 already!), this is a time to consult our crystal ball to forecast what may be in store for the meetings, incentives and special events industries, with the hope of predicting a bright and prosperous year ahead.  After coming out of an economic slump and concluding a fiercely competitive election, corporations are looking forward to better times ahead, which will hopefully translate to better employee attitudes, greater employee motivation, stronger employee performance, and higher employee retention levels. One of the best ways to foster this positive upswing within your corporation is through a corporate meeting or event; or a corporate incentive program.  In a nutshell, a corporate meeting or event can bring participants together to a central location to share company goals and vision; to build enthusiasm and to foster esprit de corps.  A corporate incentive program can motivate employees to reach for greater goals, with attainable rewards, such as an incentive travel program or a Prepaid MasterCard® reward program.

If you are considering a corporate meeting or incentive travel program, but are not quite sure what your next steps would be, let me assist you by looking into my crystal ball and predicting three important and rising trends for 2013.

Prediction Number One:  The first thing I see is that meetings and incentive travel programs will be selecting more international and exotic destinations to reward their top achievers.  Whether that means designing a reward trip to Aruba, Tahiti or South Africa depends on your group profile, program objectives and available budget.  My advice:  Feel comfortable to “opening up your wings” and fly further this year to motivate your participants to strive for ambitious goals.  Employees have been holding back on frivolous vacation spending, but they are tired of having to settle for “stay-cations” (vacations near their home).  What could excite and motivate an employee more than an exotic, off-shore location for their incentive travel reward or corporate meeting.  Three exotic and exciting destinations that I see trending for 2013 and beyond are, (1)  Rio de Janeiro (hosting the World Cup in 2014 and Summer Olympics in 2016), (2) New Zealand (which will regain interest with the upcoming launch of The Hobbit movies that were filmed there, new upscale hotels opening soon, as well as all of the amazing Experiential Travel options that are available in this beautiful country and (3) the incredible destination of South Africa.

Prediction Number Two:  Technology and Social Media will continue to evolve and play large roles in meetings, as well as in travel incentive programs.  Destination Hotels & Resorts recently came out with their “State of Meetings” Survey ( and reported that “…half of meeting planners cited social media as an integral part of the planning process…” and they also “check TripAdvisory and online reviews before deciding on a hotel or resort.”  In addition, “More than 36% noted an increase in technology integration with meetings compared to that of a year ago.” JNR Incorporated is definitely ahead of this trend, as we are on the forefront of utilizing personalized mobile apps for both meetings and incentive programs; we are increasing business and client relationships through an increased Facebook presence, and utilizing social media engagement through creative contests.  We also employ strategic e-mail marketing campaigns that we carry through social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Prediction Number Three:  Experiential travel that is good for the globe IS the future!  Corporate meeting attendees are no longer comfortable sitting in a bland ballroom, staring at a screen while being talked at.  Attendees want to interact with each other and with their environment, while experiencing something special that they can reflect on for years to come. They want to do this while “giving back”, that is by not depleting nature’s resources (aka by “going green”) and/or by giving back to the local host community through corporate social responsibility.  Once again, JNR is on the cutting edge of this “experiential giving-back” trend, offering such rewarding experiences as allowing meeting attendees to build boxes of pet supplies for pets who will be placed as companions for US veterans through a local “Pets for Vets” program. JNR clients have also built playgrounds in Hawaii, built skateboards for underprivileged children, and helped to improve schools in Mexico.  When you start to think about corporate social responsibility as a motivator and as a reward in itself, the possibilities are endless.

I only see great things ahead in my crystal ball!  2013 is going to be the perfect year to move forward with your corporate meeting or incentive strategy.  You can feel comfortable and confident getting the wheels turning to create customized programs that align with your company objectives.  Need a little help getting started?   Feel free to contact me personally at for some thought-starters!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Matt Kisser

 Director of Planning, JNR Incorporated