Do you want a way to promote your cause and help your corporate sponsors at the same time? Tell their story while telling yours.
As companies are being pressured to be more socially responsible, they are finding that consumers and employees want more than just “green washing”; they want genuine, sincere efforts to steward the environment and give back to the community. But this creates a bit of dilemma—companies need to let their constituents know what they are doing, yet they can’t be perceived as bragging about it. This is where you come in. By doing your work and talking about it, you can actually help companies with their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts and promote your own cause too. Everybody wins!
Messaging is key. You can talk freely about what a company is doing to further your cause in ways that they can’t. Think about who you are trying to reach—people who care about your issue, right? Who is the corporation trying to reach? If you’ve chosen your sponsor well, their audience also cares about your issue. How can you shape your messages to include this company’s customers, employees and potential talent?
Let’s say a corporation sends a team of volunteers to help at your food bank. Of course you’ve got a plan get everyone’s contact information, send them a thank you note and add them to your newsletter list. But what about the fun they had? What about the new friendships they made? Give these volunteers an easy way to share their experiences and they’ll reach an even wider circle of friends.
- Take photos and share them on social media. Tag the company and, if appropriate, tag the individuals who participated. Make it easy for them to share the laughter with others.
- Tell the human interest story and post it on your blog. What connections were made? What insights were gained? What disasters were overcome? Mention the corporation and the role it played.
- Videotape interviews with the participants. Let people tell their own story in their own words. What did they experience? What did they learn? What inspired them?
- Connect volunteers with beneficiaries. Give your beneficiaries a voice and let them tell their stories through your newsletter, social media and other channels. Give credit to the corporation where appropriate so they can share these with their constituents.
Let the Numbers do the Talking
Today’s consumers and employees pay attention to what impact a company is actually having in its CSR efforts and they want accurate information, not hyperbole. As you communicate data about your own impact, find ways to communicate what part the corporation played as well. Let the world know how these companies are helping you make a difference in the issue you are addressing.
A Page is Worth a Thousand Words
You can even create pages on your website that focus on your corporate sponsors and how they are supporting your cause. Send the link to the company so they can use the information however they wish. Create a separate page for each sponsor and include everything related to that specific company:
- Photos and/or videos of volunteers.
- Quotes from participants.
- Statistics appropriate for that company.
- Stories and vignettes from events.
- Personal stories from beneficiaries.
Helping Each Other… Helps You Both
Both corporations and nonprofits have a need to communicate with their audiences. By finding ways to help each other, you can both benefit. When it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility, some messages are just better communicated by someone else.
What is Your Experience?
How do you tell the world how a business supports your organization? What creative approaches have you tried? What works? Join the conversation and share your experiences in the comments below.