By Niki Gladys
Stories of businesses contributing to local causes are often interesting, inspiring and lead to further community support. When we talk as a community about the good we’re doing, everyone benefits. In fact, 42% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive, social and environmental impact according to a 2014 Nielsen study.
Yet, companies so often miss opportunities to tell their stories. Without a thoughtful plan, the message can easily be lost or become self-serving.
Follow these steps to deliver a clear, genuine message that builds on your company’s good reputation:
1) Choose charities carefully. Danny DeLaRosa, Reno Market Vice President for United Federal Credit Union says, “When we decide to partner through a sponsorship or donation it’s because we believe in the difference they are making in the community.” When you feel passionate about the cause, you will naturally want to talk about it.
2) Rally your staff. Your employees can be your most powerful advocates. Get them excited about the good work your company does in the community. They will add authenticity to your message. And, taking time to talk internally with about your community support will build positive morale within your team.
3) Be clever, have fun. Kurt Hoge, president of Reno Type and co-founder of the non-profit Project Great Outdoors, developed a cause marketing campaign promoting the Reno area and his business. Check out iamtherenotype.com. Kurt and his staff believe that we should all take pride in being the “Reno Type”.
4) Involve your clients. At Sala Family Dentistry, you’ll find a running total of Sala’s donations to the community posted in their waiting room. Take this a step further and offer clients the opportunity to participate with a matching fund drive.
5) Let your website do the talking. Demonstrate your community commitment by dedicating space on your website to your causes. Dolan Auto Group does this especially well. Check out Dolanautogroup.com/community.
6) Participate. Aside from donations, what else does your charity need? “When we sponsor an event or an organization, I get my team involved through volunteering. It takes it from just giving dollars, to actually being a community partner,” says Danny DeLaRosa of United Federal Credit Union.
7) Leverage social media. Develop your story and feed it through your social media channels. Above all things, your post should be educational and sharable. Consider Givingtrail.org, a new, local crowdfunding website. Among other benefits, the site has a feature that allows for easy social media sharing.
Lastly, make sure that your motives are on target. Marketing should never be the driver for charitable giving. However, your community involvement can do amazing things for your company. “People want to do business with good people” says Kurt Hoge of Reno Type, “But, they won’t know, unless you tell them”.
Niki Gladys is the Director of Corporate Support for KNPB Channel 5 and NCET’s VP of Corporate Relations.