What’s in a name? Well, if you are a Boeing, Gates, Schultz, or Ballmer, your name is synonymous with a well-recognized brand. And, in addition to being associated with hugely successful empires, what do all of these names have in common? They all have solid philanthropic reputations that not only benefit their communities, but also positively reflect back on their brand.

Giving back to the communityIt is possible for a company to achieve that philanthropic reputation without a million-dollar man – it starts with community involvement. Not every business can have a William Boeing Jr. making a $1.5 million donation to the Seattle Children’s Hospital, but any business can use the resources they have in ways to help make a name in the community and build a positive reputation.

From a public relations standpoint, being a good corporate citizen is an important part of your brand’s narrative. While bringing jobs to the city or increasing sales are important goals, it is also beneficial for companies to give back to the communities in which they thrive.

Every company should consider ways in which it can be a good steward in its community. Encouraging your employees to get involved in the community can be done in many ways, for example:

  • A staff-wide activity: examples include coordinating a volunteer group to assist with a local Habitat for Humanity build, or help a local donation center organize and wrap gifts for children around the holidays.
  • Paid time off for community work: allow employees to use some work time to be involved in a non-profit of their choosing.
  • Corporate donation to a local charity: organize a staff fundraiser or match donations for an employee’s individual fundraising effort.

Besides the obvious advantage of giving back to the community and being able to watch it grow, each employee your company supports in their participation in these activities is acting as a brand ambassador. When given the freedom to be involved with organizations that interest them, it extends a company’s reach into fields it was not previously associated.

The people your staff works with on these projects will get to know your employees not only as someone who cares about their community, but also as a reflection of the company they represent. These positive interactions can happen with people from different industries and professions, creating vast networking opportunities.

One thing to be aware of when getting involved in your community is that the company and staff must be doing it for the right reasons. If the purpose is not genuine or being used as a brand building PR-stunt, it can have the opposite effect and your company will be known around town as “the place that did a good deed just for the publicity.”

If your company is giving back to your community in great ways, there may be a way to tie that important message into your overall communications strategy. For more information about how to spread the word about your good deeds, contact us.