If You Build It, They Will Read – Impact 4 Good

Corporate Meetings & Incentives – June 2009

"If You Build It, They Will Read" by Rachel Gecker

When a large pharmaceutical company brought its national sales meeting to Dallas last March, it aimed not only to motivate the 260 sales execs in attendance – but to bring some joy to local at-risk children as well.

As part of the meeting, the group built 26 bookshelves for the Wilkinson Center, a Dallas-based non-profit organization that helps poverty-stricken families. The teambuilding event—organized by Bethesda, MD-based Impact 4 Good—engaged attendees in literacy-themed challenges such as solving word puzzles and balancing books on their heads, in which they earned the wood, tools, and instructions needed to build the bookshelves.

While constructing the 26 wooden bookshelves is no small feat, it was the books themselves that held the real value. Before the meeting, the pharmaceutical company asked all employees to donated children’s books, and they gathered 1,900 in all, says Ranzer, Managing Partner of Impact 4 Good. “That was really a key component to the success of the event.”

But the biggest surprise was when 52 children of families served by the Wilkinson Center came to the hotel to help decorate the bookshelves and to choose a book to take home with them. “These kids had never been to a hotel like this before, and they don’t always get this level of attention from adults,” says Ranzer, “so it was really an amazing experience to see them interacting like that.”