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3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Launching a Give-Back Campaign During Crisis

Tara Brzozowski

Director of Public Relations

Inspiring Positive Change While Staying True to Your Brand

As we experience the effects of this pandemic together, human nature evokes our compassion towards one another. And in our desire to help others, we’ve seen some inspiring stories shared in the news media and on social channels over the past few weeks.

  • McDonald’s is providing free “Thank You Meals” to health care workers, first responders, firefighters, and paramedics. Even better, the meals will be served in a “Happy Meal” box.
  • Stitch Fix, in order to assist its local hospitals and clinics, shifted the production of its Mohnton, Pennsylvania, textile and sewing factory to make PPE for health care workers. Washable, reusable masks are being produced for a nearby medical facility in Reading, Pennsylvania.
  • Crocs is donating shoes to health care workers and has pledged to donate 10,000 pairs per day.

As a company owner and business leader, you’ve likely already asked yourself, “How can my business help?” Before jumping in, it’s important to remember that the foundational rules of strategic giving do not go out the window in times of crisis. Think about the audiences who are important to you and the essence of your brand. Then, ask yourself these questions:

1.  Who do I want to support?

This might be the toughest part of the process. You may have a lot of ideas or people you want to help but know that you can’t possibly do it all. A good place to begin is by carefully considering who you are as a company. Review your mission, vision, and values and think about the audiences you serve, including customers, employees, your local community, causes, and nonprofit groups you have supported in the past. Who stands out to you during this time as a group that may have a need?

2. What support do they need right now?

Now that you have identified who you want to support, the next step is to understand what type of support to give. It’s natural to assume that money or free product might be the answer. And maybe it is, but maybe it’s not. Your contribution could also be offered in the form of education, promotion, or even environmental change.

Begin by having conversations with the people or groups you wish to support and learn what matters most to them right now. What problems are they trying to solve? What is keeping them up at night? By engaging in a meaningful conversation, you might uncover a need that you didn’t know existed and an opportunity for your company to provide a creative solution.

3. How can my company provide expertise and/or resources to support the need?

Finding the solution involves aligning your company’s expertise, product, or manpower with the need. Analyze your company’s unique resources and stay true to your mission, vision, and values. Think about how you can use your people, technology, services, or products to benefit your audience in need.

Above all else, make sure your contribution inspires positive change during this pandemic. To stay true to your brand and convey a genuine campaign purpose, your support needs to make an impact beyond profitability. A campaign aimed at padding your bottom line will backfire when other companies are sacrificing for others right now. A great example is this heartwarming ad where Uber shows how strong of a connection people can have with one another while also thanking them for NOT using its service.

What will your payback be for your generosity during this time? The opportunity to change lives, build stronger communities, and promote your brand in a positive way.

If you’re looking for some guidance along the way, the Element PR team is here for you.

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