orporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not just a marketing tool – it is our opportunity as business owners to contribute to the well-being of of the world around us. If you have not yet considered how you can use your small business to give back, what are you even doing?
There are several schools of thought on what CSR is and how it can (or should) be implemented, so it is not surprising that CSR may look differently for you than it does for others. I would implore you to think strategically when it comes to your own CSR and consider how you can align your do-gooder efforts with your brand marketing.
I was recently inspired by the efforts of Fortina Solutions, a senior living information and referral service provider. Founder and owner Allyson Nathan must be an animal-lover, as she found a way to support animals while promoting her brand in a way that makes sense. The company contributes to Santa Fe Animal Shelter to spotlight a senior pet each month, and the shelter includes information on the company in its related social media posts.
I can’t lie – I went ahead and copied them. JTE Communications now sponsors a Critter each month in a similar sponsorship/marketing deal! Critters are the non-cat-or-dog residents of the shelter, such as house rabbits, guinea pigs and the occasional snake, bird and other small animal.
Meet Chewy, the spotlight Critter of September – a five-year-old guinea pig with a heart of gold and a love for all things veggie:
I volunteer at Santa Fe Animal Shelter every week, often working with the critters. You might even say that I love small animals as much as I love small businesses and nonprofits! Making sure I keep time open in my work schedule to volunteer is one of the ways I promote CSR, and sponsorship to promote the adoption of small animals is another.
Will this drive new business to my agency? I sure hope so! I know that the shelter’s social media pages have followers of all ages from Santa Fe and beyond who happen to love animals and rescue just like I do, and some of them are also business owners who may have marketing needs.
Just last week during a consultation when I asked a client how she heard about JTE Communications she said she was Googling marketing agencies in the area and saw that I had posted photos with a dog and wanted to know more. Sharing your interests with your community is an often overlooked way to connect with target audiences.
Not sure where to start on your CSR journey? Ask yourself what are you passionate about, and what community activities are you already engaged in? Connect with the organizations doing work that you find meaningful and see how you can get involved. Schedule a meeting with their director or development manager and see what kind of partnership you can create together. I should know – you don’t need a huge budget to find a partnership that can work for you as well as the organization you support.
Want help figuring out how to best allocate your marketing budget to support your community? Schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me now and lets brainstorm together.