Putting CSR at the heart of an annual conference’s agenda




Tons of donations given to both Glasgow’s Golden Generation and Barnardo’s


llbs of food donated to the Trussel Trust


AstraZeneca asked us to develop a charitable team-building activity for 600 of their staff. The two-hour exercise took place at their UKMC company conference, which was held at SEC in Glasgow. In line with ongoing CSR initiatives, the client had identified four charities they wanted to support – Barnardo’s, The Trussell Trust, PEEK and Glasgow’s Golden Generation – each of whom helps different marginalised communities and those living below the poverty line in the Glasgow area. It was important that the exercise reflected the different needs of each organisation, yet provided a similar shared experience for every delegate, so we developed and proposed an activity that would see all delegates co-creating a 20m by 20m piece of bespoke artwork, using donated items that would subsequently be given to each of the charities.


Pre-event, all attendees were asked which charity they’d most like to support and were allocated a group accordingly, ensuring the exercise was meaningful and emotional attachments to the causes were created. The type of donations that the charities most needed was communicated to the relevant groups and branded collection points were set up in the client’s office.

We designed a bold graphic which contained the event tagline and client’s logo and gave a subtle nod to the four benefactors. The image was split out into 400 puzzle pieces, each containing a grid reference and point of orientation. At the venue, a 20m by 20m grid was marked out using thick tape and a guide template for accuracy. The grid was split into four quadrants – one for each charity – and within each there were 15 teams of ten people. Each team was allocated six pieces of the artwork to recreate (with ten pieces held back for the teams that finished first). All the charitable donations were arranged by shade in a dedicated colour bank. To complete the puzzle the teams had to take the most applicable charitable items from the colour bank, and place them in an appropriate position in the relevant location. Adding a few extra rules to make the exercise more challenging, it was imperative that each team liaised and communicated with their neighbours to ensure synchronicity and continuity.


It took 600 AZ staff a little over an hour to build the finished piece. The whole exercise was filmed by four roof-mounted time-lapse cameras as well as a roving cameraman. As part of the activity, all four charities had been invited to give a flash presentation about their work, highlighting the impact the activity would make on those who needed the support. This made the final image reveal on the big screen all the more emotionally impactful to the participants.

Post-reveal, the piece was dismantled so that the relevant donations could be redistributed. The Trussell Trust – who support a network of over 1,200 UK food banks – took away 456.1kg of food which was gratefully received at their Dunbartonshire food bank, PEEK received a huge amount of art supplies so they can continue to provide children with opportunities in free play and creative learning, and Barnardo’s and Glasgow’s Golden Generation each took away 1.5 tons of donations to sell in their local shops. Additionally, with the event having a large focus on sustainability, reusable water bottles were sold which generated a further financial donation for each of the four charities.

AstraZeneca’s aim is to continue to support the four charities through their iVolunteer initiative, which gives every employee the chance to take one day off work every year to volunteer. Regional teams are taking advantage of the scheme to re-connect with local branches of the chosen charities, ensuring AstraZeneca is active in the community and Making AZ A Great Place To Work – one of their global cornerstones.

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