Les Mills is partnering with UNICEF on an ambitious project to improve the lives of thousands of children in Ethiopia by uniting the global fitness industry. Here’s how your club can change the world while inspiring legions of new members to get active.

What is your club doing for the greater good?

I mean, outside of helping people get fit, tone up and live longer – how is your club making a real difference in the outside world?

In 2019, it’s pretty hard to deny the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to the reputation of companies. In an age when we see schoolchildren walking out of class to protest against climate change, and the #MeToo movement gaining more ground, we expect the brands we affiliate ourselves with to be doing more than just turning over dollars.

In fact, some studies published over the last years show that companies with good CSR practices find their reputation and brand image improved.

So you might be wondering why I’m telling you this.

Because to make a difference to the people of East Africa and create “educated girls”, we need every single one of you to get your club to back our Workout for Water initiative. And if your club isn’t sold on the pure altruism of this venture, then you may need to gently remind them about why being philanthropic makes good business sense.

Last year, the 10 companies with the top CSR reputation were (in order): Google, The Walt Disney Company, Lego, Natura, Novo Nordisk, Microsoft, Bosch, Canon, Michelin, and IKEA.

Knowing that these companies have a great track record for CSR makes us feel differently about them. They instantly seem more appealing because they are about more than just profitability; they care. Affiliating ourselves with brands that we perceive to be doing more than just generating profit feels good: it makes us feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves.

And so it is with our members. In an age when they have more choice than ever as to where they exercise – whether it’s in a high-end boutique, budget facility, or at home with an app – your club needs to provide compelling reasons for consumers to choose them.

Why not help your club stand out by getting them to host a Workout for Water event?

Les Mills is working with UNICEF to complete two solar-powered water systems by raising $US5million to supply clean, safe and sustainable drinking water for children in the Amhara region of Ethiopia.

In 2017, we raised $US1.1million by running Workout for Water fitness fundraisers in over 65 countries worldwide to support UNICEF.

And in June 2019 we want to take things one step further. We’ll be theming Les Mills quarterly workout releases around Workout for Water, to support clubs and Instructors in running a series of special fundraiser events around the world.

If your club isn’t yet on board, you may want to give them a nudge with the following quote from Philip Newborough, co-founder of ethical investment company Bridges Fund Management, which has funded a number of successful gym chains: “In the 21st century,” he told HCM magazine, “all businesses and investors should base their decisions not just on financial returns, but also on impact. They need to take into account the effect they have on their broader stakeholders: employees, the supply chain, the environment and so on. If you don’t do this, then you’re not serving society terribly well – and that’ll ultimately undermine the value of the business.”

Get your club involved