How Corporate Donations Can Improve Online Reputation via CSR

Is your company thinking of giving to a charitable cause? Let us be the first to thank you for your generosity. Generosity is good for both the cause being donated to and your own corporate reputation.

We’ve found that many companies don’t optimize giving in a way that benefits their online reputation to the fullest, so here are some things generous businesses can do to not only help charitable causes in need but improve their reputation PR as well.

Once you choose a cause you’d like to support, ask if they’re willing to do one of these things to promote your donation: 

  • Write an article and post it on their site
  • Publish a press release about the gift
  • Post about it on social media

letter_aAsk the charity if they’ll reciprocate

Charities, especially smaller ones, are usually happy to go the extra mile to help show the world how generous you are if you ask them to, but you need to ask. When giving, or even before you give, ask what the charity is willing to do to get the word out about your donation.

Note: The charity should not have to pay for any of the reciprocal marketing they provide, the company should pay any expenses associated with press releases, articles, or social media costs.

Here are some examples of things that can be done to help the charity and the value of your corporate reputation. This aspect of corporate reputation is called corporate social responsibility, often abbreviated as CSR

letter_bWrite an article and post it on the charity’s site

You can have the charity write an article about your company and its donation and place the article on its website or blog. Conversely, you can write the article and give it to them to edit; doing so will save the charity time and scarce resources.

Keep in mind that articles that have about 500 – 1000 words work best

Important: Make sure the article includes your company’s name in the headline. Having your company name in the headline will help the article rise in search results, highlighting not only the fact that they earned a donation but that your company is generous.

Include the name of both your company and the charity’s name. Here are some examples of headlines the article might have related to a donation by the company Reputation X with Rotary:

  1. Transforming Lives: How Rotary and Reputation X Are Making a Difference
  2. Uniting for Good: The Partnership Between Rotary and Reputation X
  3. Rotary Joins Forces with Reputation X to Amplify Social Impact
  4. Inside Rotary and Reputation X’s Unique Partnership
  5. Rotary and Reputation X: A Partnership that Puts People First

As you can see above, each headline has both the name of the charity, Rotary, and the name of the company giving the donation, Reputation X. This not only improves search engine performance, but it improves search engine volume too. Volume is increased by adding the search phrase of the charity, which often drives more volume than the company giving the donation. 

letter_cCreate a statement about the article on your site

Once the charity has published the article on their site or blog, create a short summary of the donation, and place it on your own corporate website. Again, include both the name of the charity and the name of your company in the headline.

Also, create a link (hyperlink) from your article about the donation to the one on the charity site. This will help search engines connect your brand with the charity’s brand. 

Finally, do not duplicate the same information on your page in the article the charity is publishing. You want both content to be different.

The charity does not need to link to your company website, but it helps. 

letter_dAsk the charity to do a press release about the donation

The article about your donation is the most important thing they can do, but generating a press release and distributing it through a service like PR Newswire is a great way to follow it up.

However, writing and distributing a press release can be time-consuming and costly for a charity. The answer again is, do it yourself. Here is an article about how to write a press release that performs well in search. 

If your company writes the press release for the charity, you can add a link to either the article on their site about the donation (and your company) or to some other web property.

The cost of distributing a press release is usually a few hundred dollars, so write a second check to the charity for the amount of the press release so they’ll have no out-of-pocket expense. At that point, the charity must go to PR Newswire or another distribution channel and post it. This will take about 20 minutes, but it’s a small price to pay as a thank you for the donation. 

letter_eAsk the charity to post about it on social media

Every charity has a Twitter account, or should. Chances are your company does, too. While the article is the most important thing, and a press release is the second most important, social media is easily third. Ask the charity to post about your donation on their social media channels. Make sure they mention your Twitter or other social media handles when they do it. Ideally, they should link to the article on their site about your donation. 

Other ideas: Smaller charities tend to be more flexible

If you give $1,000 to Harvard University chances are they won’t write a glowing article about your company’s generosity. But giving $1,000 to the local dog shelter could get you an article, a press release, social media love, and a free puppy. 

The bottom line here is that smaller charities are more flexible, especially if you do the work. 

Big donations? Maybe a split?

If your company can afford to give $20,000 to a charitable cause, why not give $10,000 to two charitable causes instead? You’ll help both and possibly double the positive effect on your corporate social responsibility rating as well. 

Local charities have a greater local impact

Local donations have a greater impact on local corporate responsibility visibility. For example, if you give to Rotary International, you’re giving to a worldwide organization with billions in assets. But if you give to a local Rotary Club, you’ll be making a huge impact locally and because they’re small, they’ll be more willing to spread the word about your generosity. 

For example, if your company is in Marin County, California, you’d want to donate to a local club like the Rotary Club of Mill Valley. Then, ask the club to have their PR chairperson do the aforementioned article on their site, the press release, and a Facebook mention of your company. 

You could take it further; you could ask the club to contact a local newspaper like the Marin Independent Journal (Marin IJ) and get a story written about the donation if it’s significant enough. 

This kind of local donation coverage will show up everywhere, but it will rank more highly in the local area, in this example Marin County, than in other places. 

Tags: Corporate Reputation, Reputation Marketing.

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