Business Marketing Through Donations
Donating to charity is one of the least selfish things that a human can do for another in need. This act of kindness is rewarded internally by getting good feelings of knowing that you have helped out. Going above and beyond for a person is very gratifying, but what about for a company?
A company has people that run it, but the very idea of a company is that it is faceless. The company must receive something in return, because donating anonymously is absurd! What’s the point of giving money if you’re not recognized for it? For companies and donations, there must be recognition for it to be a win-win. The charitable organization receives money and the company receives public relations press.
Let’s look at some examples of how companies use the “recognition” technique to get people to donate. UPS launched a recent campaign to show that they were going to donate $100,000 in books to the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. That amount of money is definitely newsworthy (article), but they are taking an extra step in marketing by creating a commercial to show how they are donating.
Even people need recognition; this was shown when the LiveStrong foundation offered yellow wristbands for $1.00. This was a huge success because not only were they were giving, they were allowed to show off their donation as a social status: “It’s cool to donate”. 80 million wristbands have been sold. Wiki-Livestrong-wristband
New York Times-Central-Park-Donation is an example of a newsworthy donation. A line from that article: “Nothing in the park will bear Mr. Paulson’s name, which is unusual for a gift of this size.” This line in particular really states the point of anonymous donations, when the writer, Lisa wrote “unusual” because that’s an absolutely true statement. It is very unusual for someone to donate and not ask for recognition.
How to Market Your Donation
The first step is to alert your local newspaper. Depending on the town that you live in, even donating $100 is newsworthy, but if you live in a city you might have to donate $10,000 to be noticed. When doing so, make sure you leave company information, such as a name and a URL. The URL can become especially important if they put the printed paper online, like the New York Times.
Write as much as you can about the donation and include a picture of someone doing the donations. Giving the newspapers something to write about will only help them fill in the blanks and gear it more towards how you want it to be viewed. Make sure you answer questions such as: Why are you donating? What are you donating to? What effect do you hope to see from the donation? Why did you pick this particular organization?
A picture can include the items that you are donating, the donating party, or even a big check for a dollar amount with both the recipient and the donator. The big check can be helpful portraying a monetary value because a briefcase full of cash is a bit risky.
If you a large enough company, then you will want to advertise on more levels, using your marketing budget. A short and sweet commercial can really show the personal side of a corporation and show how proud your employees are, to be a part of the donation.
Use of the Internet in Marketing
The goal for marketing your donation is to get other websites to link to your website. This is a very complicated subject for most online sales companies, but is less complicated for a business donation. It’s genuine, newsworthy, and something worth talking about on the internet.
The first step is to include it on your own website. Depending on the size of the company, your website may have a “News” or “Company Updates” and that’s where you want to put it. If you don’t have a section like that, then add a separate page and link it into your navigation menu. The idea behind it all is to show that your donation is important on your website by making it available on almost all the pages. Make sure the URL to that page is the title of the article, such as: “this-company-donates-to-that-organization”.
The next step is to get the information out into the world wide web. You can start this process by updating your social media statuses with the URL to that page. Instead of copy and pasting the article into all of your social media places, its best just to include a link to the page with the information on it. This is a nice list of websites to get started with.
Continuing this step, you will need to then notify the proper online blogging / news websites. This step I can’t give you any website names because they will be all different for each market that your business is in. You’re looking for local newspapers and blogging websites that deal specifically with charities, donations, and your market. Our Photo Gallery Page is set up to help you get started as well. We like to have examples of our product and you can benefit from having us link to your page.
The last step is patience. It will take about 3 months to see any type of web traffic onto your website and the amount of the donation will definitely make a big difference. If it’s a very interesting/controversial donation, then you will get more attention.
What can a company expect with a donation?
The only thing for sure is a Thank You from the organization that the company donated to. What else do you need?
What might happen with a donation? You could see:
- Local newspaper article
- Increased website traffic
- Increased company awareness
- Word of mouth buzz marketing
- TV News spotlight
Written by: Eric Hagelin