With all the destruction Hurricane Dorian caused in the Bahamas, donations of supplies, food, and dollars have been pouring in. Many of these donors are driven to help because support is so greatly needed and they have the means to do so, but others have ulterior motives — they want PR.
While there is nothing wrong with wanting to promote your charitable work — many consumers want to know that the companies they buy from are giving back — keep in mind that any publicity you or your brand receives will be much better received if it’s seen as coming from the heart, rather than your PR team.
It’s a fine line to walk, but can be done. Here are a few tips.
Share on social — and then let it be.
Chef José Andrés — personally one of my favorite restauranteurs and all-around amazing human being — was one of the first on the ground in Abaco, working to feed survivors of the category-5 storm through his nonprofit World Central Kitchen. He’s been tweeting like crazy and the hashtag #ChefsForBahamas started trending. He’s gotten a ton of national media coverage for his efforts over the last few days, but it’s because this is what he does — not because he’s tagging media outlets in his tweets or sending them messages to check out the great work his team is doing. He and the World Central Kitchen team immediately assemble and deploy aid, without any ulterior motive. And as a customer, it makes me feel great about how much I’ve spent at his restaurants over the years.
If you do pitch media, don’t make it about you.
Following a disaster, you’re not the only one doing good things. A lot of people are jumping in to help. Most likely, your story is not the only one worth being told, so it won’t be. Think about what readers want. Those that are interested in giving back want to know how they can do it. So if you do reach out to a reporter, help them tell the larger story. Share what you’re doing, but also share what other local businesses are doing. You can say something like, “I know you may be working on a piece to tell readers how they can donate to X cause, so I thought I’d share what I know.” They’ll be appreciative, and your charitable work will likely get a mention.
Just give back — and don’t say anything.
You’ll know the good work you did, as will your employees. Everyone can sleep at night knowing they did what they could to help and your employees will feel good about where they work. They may share on their personal social media pages or share the story through word-of-mouth. Good news gets spread, and it doesn’t always need to be you doing the spreading.