Distinguish Your Business by Supporting a Local Cause

Have you noticed that successful small businesses tend to make a difference in their local community, or perhaps even on a national or global level?  That’s no accident.  According to a May 2013 study by Cone Communications, as summarized by Lindsay Lavine in the article “The Power of Giving Back: How Community Involvement Can Boost Your Bottom Line”, “82% of U.S. consumers consider corporate social responsibility when deciding which products or services to buy.”

Restated, that means 82% of Americans vote to support corporate/small business social responsibility with their dollars.  There are many studies which support this relationship of community involvement positively influencing a company’s bottom line.  According to Brian Sutter’s article “Giving Back: How Your SMB Can Give Back to the Community” which references a study by Ernst & Young and the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, “62% of small business owners say that giving back to their community has made their company more successful in the long run.”

Selecting a Community Cause

First and foremost, select a cause that you believe in enough to support.  Don’t select a cause only for publicity.  All successful campaigns take time, energy and passion.  Your passion, or lack thereof, will come through and influence not only the success of the event, but also the impact to your bottom line.

We’ll share real case studies and tips for successful partnership next month, but in the meantime, consider these types of causes as ideas to get started.

  • Children: Collect educational supplies for low-income children.
  • Health:  Sponsor a road run for heart disease.
  • Animal Welfare:  Organize a food drive for animals in shelters.
  • Homeless: Gather your employees and help serve the homeless.
  • Community Safety: Help clean the roadsides in your local community.

How to Best Collaborate with Your Nonprofit Partner

After selecting your cause, your next step is to handpick a nonprofit partner whose focus is that of your intended cause. You want to select a nonprofit partner who will work with you to help cross promote the event.  This is a very important and often overlooked step.  Although you will be promoting the event/cause in your advertising, your nonprofit partner should be doing the same.  Here are the types of collaboration to look for in a nonprofit partner:

  • The nonprofit will promote the event and your sponsorship through their newsletters and social media channels.
  • The nonprofit will distribute a press release incorporating how your organization is working for the cause under their letterhead.  This helps the partnership to be more noticed by the media.
  • The nonprofit will promote the event to help increase attendance and/or participation at the event.

To maximize the success of the event, make sure you allow enough time to properly promote your efforts.  Ideally, you should plan at least 2-3 months in advance of the event.

Stay tuned next month to read about The Tale of Two Partnerships:  Here you’ll find a comparison of a real success story and a real let down story and learn how to ensure that you partner with a nonprofit that will result in a real success story.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group.  The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis.  Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business growth.

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