Socially-Responsible PR: Have a Heart

Peter TerHorst

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One of the noblest PR strategies for companies is the creation of a partnership with a non-profit organization. It is not a new strategy –- many large corporations align themselves with the mission of a non-profit. Some even go so far as to incorporate a social goal in their mission statement; they are called socially-responsible organizations.

What is different today is that this strategy is being adopted by small companies as well, including one- and two-person shops. It doesn’t have to cost a lot –- or anything in some cases - and the rewards are multiple. In addition to the obvious support provided to a worthy cause, employees feel good about their employer’s benevolence and often participate. The media is more likely to cover an event or effort that benefits the community, and consumers are more likely to patronize a business that cares about the community.

When you think about it, most people support at least one non-profit charity through their donations and/or volunteer hours. The idea of helping a charity that does good work in an area related to your business is a natural extension of that thought.

Are you a home builder? Support the local charity that subsidizes low-cost housing. A caterer? Support the local food bank. A clothing retailer? Help cloth the homeless. A medical practitioner? Organize a consortium of practitioners that offers indigent health care.

Sometimes the cause is so compelling that there does not need to be a relationship with the company’s business to realize a benefit. Businesses as varied as building supply companies and car dealers have organized rapid response teams to support the local efforts of the Red Cross in natural disasters and other emergencies. When times are tough, people remember who helped them or their neighbors and they tell others in the community.

Have a heart. There’s no joy quite like that of helping others. And when you help others through your business, not only will it help your business, it is simply the right thing to do.

Peter terHorst is president of SymPoint Communications. For more information, visit

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