With Thanksgiving right around the corner, businesses can show their appreciation to their communities by giving back and garnering free publicity in the process. Big corporations have long recognized the advantages of giving back. Business like Target, Tom’s Shoes, Harpo and Microsoft are very vocal about their contributions to the local and international community. It shows their committment to the people and community that supports them. It also helps to build a brand associated with altruism and philantropy.
Find out what matters most to your customers and focus your efforts.
For example, Target donates a part of their profits to schools because a large percentage of their target market are families with school-aged children. To make the best impact, focus on the issues that matter to your client base.
Decide what method works best for your business.
There are many ways to contribute. Pizza Hut offers free pizzas to students who read a certain number of books. Disney offers a free pass to indivuals who volunteer with an affiliated organization. Apple offers product discounts to students and teachers. These are just a few examples of how your business might give back.
Spread the word.
Once your program is up and running, let the public know. Put up information on your web site, place flyers in your store and update your online networks (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter). Most importantly, pitch the story to your local media outlets. Reporters are always looking for human interest stories. Also, contact organizations that would benefit directly from your program. Ask them to include your info in their publications and on their web sites. This is a great way to get free PR and boost your business.
Here are a few articles from SCORE to jump start the process.