The Wikipedia definition of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept whereby organizations consider the interests of society by taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, communities and other stakeholders, as well as the environment. This obligation is seen to extend beyond the statutory obligation to comply with legislation and sees organizations voluntarily taking further steps to improve the quality of life for employees and their families as well as for the local community and society at large.

In marketing circles, CSR is all the buzz. If you read the last few Blogs on the Zap Blog, you’d see we take CSR very seriously. At Zapwater, we try to include CSR components in almost all our client work. In the past year, we’ve helped our clients give back by holding events that have raised over $40,000.00.

Just last week, one of our newest clients, Chicago hotspot Bon V kicked off the annual Air and Water Show weekend with an event that benefited the USO of Illinois. Our current Pro-Bono client is Gateway Green and we’re proud to be the Public Relations Agency of Record for this year’s Green Tie Ball.

Here is a list of some of the ways Zapwater helped its clients give back in the past year.

Chicago area reality television stars from Big Brother, Survivor, The Apprentice and The Real World participated in RA Sushi’s creative contest, RA Reality, to raise awareness for local non-profit organizations. Each reality television star was transformed into a top chef by creating and naming an original recipe for a sushi roll. Survivor Fiji’s Mookie Lee’s winning RAVU roll was available throughout the month of December 2007 at all three Chicago land RA Sushi locations with 15% of the proceeds donated to Mookie’s own charity, Active Chicago.

At Zapwater, we knew that the celebration to officially welcome the Hotel Sax Chicago needed to be on a scale worthy of the extravagant, $25+ million renovation that had recently taken place. In mid-March, Zapwater and the Hotel Sax Chicago threw a grand unveiling event, taking place on two consecutive days. The 2500 attendees included Chicago VIPs and socialites, the boards of local charities, local politicians, technology, leisure, business and events writers, members of the local television and radio media, Microsoft executives and a slew of other partygoers eager to have an amazing time while enjoying all that the new Hotel Sax Chicago had to offer. The two night event benefited two local charities: Gilda’s Club and Lumity.

On July 3, 2008, Zapwater helped open Chicago’s hottest eatery HUB 51. The opening was dubbed “The 4th of July Party on The Third benefiting Starlight Starbright, and it raised over $20,000 for the charity. This was the most successful outside event in the charity’s history. The restaurant opened to a packed house with a line wrapping around the block as over 500 Chicagoans came to experience it.

We don’t just preach CSR to clients. We include it in almost everything we do including our vacation policy. Zapwater employees get an extra week vacation if they use it volunteering!

These are just a few examples of the many charities that Zapwater’s clients have helped raise money and awareness for. We’re looking forward to continuing this tradition and helping more of our clients give back.

David Zapata