Having something tangible makes the challenges others face seem more real. In Brooklyn, past-its-prime food and a scrubbed-down garbage dumpster have become the foundation for Salvage Supperclubs. Conceptualized by designer Josh Treuhaft for his recent master's thesis, the idea is to create a six-course meal from food that is imperfect or about to be thrown away. Guests pay $50 (suggested donation) to attend the dinner and the goal is to raise awareness about how much food is actually wasted unnecessarily. The proceeds from the dinners go to various charities dealing with hunger relief, healthy food access, and other food-related concerns.
A Huffington Post article on the supper clubs stated this: "According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, American families throw out about 25 percent of their groceries each year, often because they don't maximize the food's full use -- for example, some people throw away broccoli stems and only use the florets -- or they don't know how to store perishable items correctly. What's more, according to the World Resources Institute, about one-third of all food produced worldwide gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems annually."
Having guests sit in a dumpster eating food that was nearly wasted creates a much bigger impact than having them listen to speeches, however impassioned.
Another great example of this strategy is from charity: water. Most of us have likely seen pictures of African villagers carrying large jugs of water back to their homes. You see the image and you understand that getting clean water is hardship in many places, but you don't necessarily connect with the reality of it. Charity: water held an event where guests were encouraged to carry a standard 40-pound jerry can of water about 50 yards. The guests couldn't believe how heavy the cans were and how hard it is to move the cans even a short distance. Guests were able to more fully realize the difficulty many people face in accessing a basic human right and felt more passionately that something must be done.
For another clever example, see this article from Event Solutions. Creative ideas like these create a physical and emotional experience that garner a much larger investment from guests and benefit the cause in a more meaningful way.
Photos: The Huffington Post, Event Solutions