Lesbian, Gay, Bi, and Transgender (LGBT+) & Allies ERGs are some of the oldest and largest groups in Fortune 500 companies. They meet quite frequently and organize various events. Uber has Pride at Uber, Amazon is famous for their Glamazons, Salesforce has Outforce, and Google opted for a more traditional name--their ERG is simply Pride, alhough they do have a dedicated ERG for their transgender employees. Companies know the importance of having LGBT+ groups and organizing events.
For Aubrey Weatherston, Event Manager at Societe Generale, “LGBT+ ERG events or initiatives are impactful for a company.” Their Pride & Allies ERG is one of the most active ERGs within the company. In case you were wondering what an “ally” is, it’s anyone who doesn’t necessarily define themself as a part of the LGBT+ community, but supports their efforts of normalizing LGBT+ people in the workforce and equality. If your LGBT+ ERG is looking to make an impact within your company and community, there is no better way than harnessing the power of a virtual and hybrid event. But what can I do? We’ve got you covered. Here are some ideas for your next LGBT+ events that are sure to be a hit.
LGBT+ Event Ideas
Pride, which occurs in large part during the month of June (also known as Pride Month), is one of the largest events organized by LGBT+ ERGs. Every major city across the globe has a pride parade and most large companies have offices in these cities so you can only imagine how many pride events are organized by local LGBT+ ERGs. That’s a lot of parades!
Think about creating a pride parade event website for your company. With your event website, you’ll be able to seamlessly handle your event registration, where you can collect t-shirt sizes for pride shirts with your company logo (ensuring that your company stands out in the pride parade), share important event information and documents and manage other logistical tasks. Most Event Management Software (EMS) offer the ability to publish an event website in a few clicks.
LGBT+ Events Beyond Pride Month
Most people think that LGBT+ events are only held during pride month, but LGBT+ ERGs are active throughout the year. Besides regular meetings, there are a plethora of other events that you can organize to spread awareness. Here are some examples of events that you can organize for your company.
Societe Generale, an avid Eventdrive user, organized an event with the objective of promoting awareness around the transgender community and the importance of using the correct pronouns. For someone who has always lived their life as a man, hearing “he/him/his” is no big deal, but for a trans man who has struggled in their skin for so long, it means everything.
The powerhouse banking company opened up the floor to their transgender employees so that they could share their experiences and the impact that using the correct pronouns has on their everyday life. When an employee is sharing their story, interruptions might throw them off track. Attendees will surely want to ask questions, and that’s the point of this event: to spread awareness. Opt for a live Q&A where participants can submit their questions (anonymously if they prefer), which can be addressed at specific moments of the event or at the end for the final Q&A.
ERGs are not only involved in spreading awareness within company walls, but are also active in the external community. They use their company network to bring together a team for local initiatives. One great way to help the community is by fundraising. For example, Societe Generale’s New York LGBT+ ERG regularly raises funds for the Treatment Action Group (TAG). They come together as a community to help the community. Poetic.
You’ll definitely want a theme for your fundraiser which always helps to ensure that your guests are having a great experience. Why not host a “Rainbow Cocktails & Cupcakes” event? For those who are participating on-site, they’ll be able to sip on a Rainbow Paradise Cocktail and you could send remote participants a kit with all the ingredients to make their own cocktail. Nothing is more persuasive in writing a check than a great cocktail.
What about food? Hors d’oeuvres are an essential part of any fundraising event...but cupcakes? It’s not very often you’ll see cupcakes at a fundraiser. Send your caterer this Rainbow Cupcake recipe along with your finger-food order. Your fundraiser is sure to be a success. Who doesn’t like cupcakes, especially rainbow ones?!
Hiring New Talent
Most Diversity & Inclusion departments help HR and hiring managers with selecting, managing, evaluating, and retaining diverse employees. Having your LGBT+ ERG on site at an open house recruiting event is a great way to attract top talent and, of course, shine a light on other ERGs that your company has to offer.
Virtual open houses are increasing in numbers. With a virtual and hybrid event management platform you can create a virtual session at your hiring event where your LGBT+ ERG can share insights on what it’s like working at your company and how your company values their employees’ well-being. There’s no better ambassador than an employee who’s proud to be part of such a diverse and inclusive company. You’ll want to ensure your LGBT+ ERG members are easily recognizable so that future talent can approach them to ask questions. One way to do this is with buttons and badges. Create buttons and badges for your LGBT+ ERG Members, both LGBT+ and Allies.
Get to Know a Drag Queen
Although RuPaul’s Drag Race has become a worldwide hit and has definitely shined a light on the drag community, drag queens aren’t necessarily roaming around the office and it’s hard to recognize them out of drag. Yes, Stephen in Accounting transforms into the beauty that is “Velveeta Crunch” on Fridays. Who would’ve known? Well, it’s time his colleagues found out that there’s more to Stephen than loving cheese and crunching numbers (pun intended).
Spreading drag queen awareness and normalizing dressing up has taken flight in libraries, schools, and bookstores thanks to Drag Queen Story Hour. It’s a time where drag queens read stories to children from people who defy rigid gender restrictions. The new generation of future leaders is already accustomed to glamorous drag queens, so why aren’t corporate employees? It’s time for Stephen to come out of the closet in a fabulous dress (pun intended) and share his experiences with the team.
Your “Get to Know a Drag Queen” event will draw a lot of interest within the company. I mean, who doesn’t want to see Velveeta Crunch in a ball gown with her makeup on fleek? Create groups in your EMS so that you can easily assign attendees to a group or even groups. You can easily indicate which group an employee belongs to in your excel file or by automatically assigning attendees to groups during their registration process based on their responses. For example, you could have a group of main committee members, active members, allies, and those who tend to show up from time to time. What’s more, you can streamline your event communication and deliver important information only to groups who are concerned.
Not all LGBT+ events have to be about serious subjects. There are different ways to spread awareness on LGBT+ issues, and one way is to have a screening of an LGBT+ movie. Grab the popcorn and sweets, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
You can use multiple interactive features to engage your attendees. Break the ice with a couple of quick polls at the beginning:
- Have you seen this movie before?
- How many LGBT+ films have you seen in your lifetime?
Encourage your participants from the very start to submit questions via the Q&A feature and don’t forget to mention when they’ll be answered (perhaps during intermission or at the end of the movie).
You can spice things up with a quiz after the movie to see if your audience understood important parts of the movie. Have an LGBT+ member comment on the results of each question to emphasize the importance of a scene or quote. After your quiz, bring out the marshmallows and start a campfire session. For remote participants, encourage them to use the “Raise Your Hand” feature to ask a question. Why not end your event with a word cloud asking your audience to sum up their experience in one word?
Product Focus Groups
Companies have started to use their ERGs to obtain important insights for product enhancements and even new products that can be launched on the market. The ERG Trans at Google, for example, helps with product development, ensuring Google products are inclusive of all gender identities and expressions.
Marketing teams spend tons of money on market research on the outside world when, quite often, great ideas are born within your company. Organizing Product Focus Group events throughout the year is a great way to gather feedback, involve employees in your product strategy, give your employees a voice, and network with coworkers they may not have had the opportunity to meet before. Furthermore, you could extend your audience and allow your LGBT+ ERG members to bring a friend. Perhaps you’ll be able to use some of that saved budget from marketing research to create more events.
Use the interactivity features available in your EMS to gather as much information as possible, centralize your data, and even follow up with a survey to help the product team improve future focus groups.
There you have it--our advice to help you organize meaningful events for your LGBT+ Employee Resource Group. Remember that the pride rainbow flag is also used as the peace flag. With Eventdrive, you’ll have “peace” of mind while organizing your LGBT+ ERG events. 🏳️🌈