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Social Responsibility It’s The Right Thing to Do!

By: Gerald J. Sherman

We are at a point in our society where helping one another is essential to preserving it. It’s the right thing to do! We can look at our schools today and see that the kids are required to do some community service. They are learning early on, that it’s the right thing to do! It’s called Social Responsibility, which concerns itself with individuals, corporations, organizations, governmental entities having a responsibility to our community and society at large.

Like private organizations, non-profits are reaching out to be financially sound and to improve their brand/image. Getting their word out to their community is a necessity.

This is where for profit businesses get the chance to become involved for the good of all.

Partnering/sponsoring with a non-profit has many advantages. It can give the commercial organization the opportunity to both serve the community and receive positive public opinion from this association. This symbiotic relationship can prove to be a benefit for all; the non-profit, the business organization and the public they serve.

Sponsoring with a non-profit includes getting the word out about the non-profit. Both smaller and larger non-profit need to get positive public opinion, media attention and help in conducting events in order to raise funds. Their survival depends on getting the word out to their target market.

Non-profits like the United Way, Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Red Cross and other large non-profits do employ public relations personnel and advertise but most non-profits try to do PR in house by members or volunteers or relationships with companies that can support their needs.  There are always opportunities available to companies who wish to be socially responsible and partner with non-profits.

Naturally, when a commercial enterprise supports a non-profit it should consider some of the following:

One of the ways of supporting a non-profit is sponsorship of special events. It brings your company’s product/service to the attention of the audience. It also enables a company to reach the target audience in a specific geographical area.  This partner/sponsorship program combines local advertising, public relations, promotions and philanthropic activity. Many companies find this cost-effective due to fewer expenses involved in marketing the event. The charitable organization does CO-OP advertising with the commercial company and the charity does all the marketing with the participating company’s logo, which is identified with the charitable cause in all the advertisements, mailers and brochures. The company sponsoring an event is assured of an audience that will relate to their target market. The golf-wear manufacturer sponsoring the golf tournament similarly assures that its audience will take notice of its brand and products.

The main thing is for companies to be pro-active in working with charitable causes and to make sure they are compatible with the product/service they are marketing.

A cause related activity is another way of supporting and becoming active with non- profits. It gives the commercial company an opportunity to increase their sales and still contribute to their favorite non-profit. It involves the commercial company’s contribution to a worthy cause tied into a consumer purchase of their product or service. This cause related activity is an activity or initiative in which an organization or corporation pledges a percentage of its gross sales towards a specific cause or non-profit project. Cause-related activities are an effective means of serving the community. Participating in cause-related activities is fast becoming a popular method. We find more business establishments are interested in this type of activity due to the many public relations opportunities it provides for both the cause and the company. However, the company’s contribution is dependent upon the consumer buying the product/service that will benefit the cause.

The trend for commercial entities is clear, become active in the community and look to help others. It will pay big dividends in knowing you served. After all, being socially responsible is the right thing to do!

Excerpts from the book, Fashion Public Relations, Gerald J. Sherman & Sar S. Perlman. Fairchild Books, a division of Conde Nast Publications.

Gerald J. Sherman, MBA, DBA of Sherman & Perlman LLC Public Relations & Marketing is a Boca Raton-based marketing consultant and author who has written several books and articles on these subjects. 561.715.2788

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