Philanthropy is traditionally viewed as a selfless pursuit, but that does not preclude your company from taking advantage of the positive publicity or influence generated by charitable efforts. As I wrote in “Business Philanthropy Comes in Many Forms,” your chief motivation should not be commercial gain, but at the same time, there is no reason to hide your good deeds. Why not take the opportunity to promote your company while giving back? Making clients and prospects aware of the charitable campaigns being run by your company will hopefully encourage them, and even other businesses in your community, to step up their community engagement, thereby extending the reach of your philanthropic endeavors.
As with any type of marketing, it’s important to target your audience by reaching out through the channels proven to be the most popular among the demographic.
“Social media is ideally suited for cross promotion of brand and philanthropy,” wrote Stacey Acevero, social media community manager for Vocus and PRWeb, in a recent piece for Blogging PRWeb. “With some creativity, small business marketers can create an explosion of exposure and engagement.”
The type of channel likely to be most effective may vary according to the charitable campaign you are running and depending on where you live. For instance, Acevero noted, “A campaign promoting (women’s) issues such as domestic violence will have a stronger influence on a channel such as Pinterest because of its heavy female population.”
An infographic compiled by full service agency Modea earlier this year revealed that more than two-thirds (68.2 percent) of Pinterest users are female. What’s more, half of people who frequent the site have children.
To boost relevance and engagement, you are better off identifying a cause that relates to your brand. At first glance, it might seem tricky to connect your business to a children’s charity, for example, but it all comes down to how you frame things. For instance, many of your clients are likely putting away money with their children’s futures in mind, or are trying to balance the responsibility of funding a college education while still meeting other expenses and staying on track for retirement. The values you hold dear as a business owner and in your business also matter and should be reflected in your social responsibility strategy. It is important to be able to provide context for why you give your time, talent or treasure to a given cause. Something close to your heart or to an employee’s or to the mission of your business is a good place to start.
Getting clients involved is a good way to bolster engagement with your firm and ramp up your philanthropic efforts and can be a wonderful way to deepen your relationships. You can increase relevance by relating charitable campaigns to the products and services you offer.
What philanthropic efforts is your company involved in? How have you made your chosen cause relevant to your client base?