Earned Media, Relationship Building
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Whether you’ve just launched your company or have been in business for several years, corporate giving is not only the “right” thing to do, but it will help grow your business as well. Incorporating a philanthropic event into your marketing plan will give your team and clients something to get excited about.

As reported by MiBiz, the third most important attribute millennials look for in a new job is an organization’s corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Moreover, Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR study showed that 90 percent of consumers worldwide are more likely to switch to a company that supports a cause or charity. The study also indicates that those surveyed are increasingly looking at social media to learn about a company’s social involvement.

Thinking about getting started with a CSR initiative or looking to revive an existing one? Keep reading.

Get Creative and Switch It Up

Does your company play in the same golf scramble every year? Not that golf scrambles are bad, but there are many other creative ways to show that your company gives back. Instead of writing a check or sponsoring a “longest drive,” consider having a volunteer day. That way, more people in your office can get involved, and you can engage departments in friendly competition to see who can raise the most money.

Our organization, DNK Presents, decided to host a contest where four women will win a complimentary local adventure trip, customized and led by us. Since we had little experience with hosting a contest, we first did basic market research in our geographical area. After our analysis (and many meetings with trusted groups that had completed similar events) we decided to make our contest part of our marketing plan, in effort to grow our business.

 

 

Tactics for Marketing CSR Activities

We decided it wasn’t enough to do a contest for women. We knew we’d also have to document the experience and that it would take more than still photos to capture the essence of what we were trying to accomplish with this giveaway.

So, we conceived a documentary film that will capture everything leading up to, during, and after the adventure weekend featuring the contest winners. We plan to submit the documentary to several film festivals, but we also are using the film for other events, conferences and speaking engagements.

Documenting your philanthropic event or giveaway using photos, videos, blog posts and other media is an excellent way to build your reach. Add the photos to your homepage or blog, so people visiting your website will see it immediately. Share those same images on social media, and let followers know more photos and information can be found on your website. Publishing the video on YouTube and embedding the video on your website will also create more engagement and drive traffic to your website. The content repurposing opportunities are endless!

Since video editing isn’t our forte, we decided to outsource the production to a local company. Assuming you’ll need to do the same, make sure you’ve clearly articulated the message you would like to send with the final product. Also clearly communicate what the video will primarily be used for (e.g., obtaining new clients, engaging with current customers, reaching new markets).

Create A Buzz With a Mix of Earned and Owned Media

Work closely with the charity or cause of your choice to determine how to co-market with them. Combining their reach with yours will effectively double both of your audiences. Generate a buzz about your event or volunteer day by interviewing your employees and the charity or winners, taking photos of money being raised, creating a hashtag specifically for the event, and tagging the other charities or organizations involved on social media.

Submit your news release to local radio and TV stations. Document all actions leading up to (and day of) the event. Make sure to do a follow-up with the charity, your employees and other stakeholders to keep the marketing efforts flowing with photos, video, and content for your blog, website and social media.

Analyze Results

Did you reach your goal? How much business was generated from the event? How can you do it better next time? Send a survey to employees, customers and any others involved in the event and seek feedback.
Whether your company decides to volunteer, hold a fundraising event or put on a contest, the key is to properly and effectively integrate your CSR efforts into your marketing plan. Yes, you will see positive feedback and recognition from the charity and employees involved. But, perhaps more importantly, it will also promote a positive company culture, leading customers and potential clients to be more devoted to your organization and be that much more inclined to use your services or products.

 

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