This week we have been discussing how you might leverage your public relations efforts by working in tandem with a local not-for-profit, in our example, an animal shelter. We have discussed the value of working with a local organization, how to involve the press and how to give an interview. Finally, let’s discuss a bit about organizing the event and follow-up.
Within your partner organization, the Animal Service Center, you will no doubt find much of the free labor you will require to organize the event. In fact, it is highly likely that the people involved with the day-to-day operation of the shelter will be highly motivated to actually organize the event. In either case, the most important components are your invitation list, the presentation at the event and the materials that will be handed out and, finally, follow-up.
Make sure that existing patrons of the not-for-profit receive an invitation that includes your sponsorship information. Over the years the organization has probably accumulated a list of people who have donated funds, volunteered, adopted animals and otherwise provided support. Reach out to these individuals with an invitation. Likewise, involve your own client list. Your involvement with a local not-for-profit and a worthy cause is an important part of your own corporate profile. Appeal to your past clients and make your participation known. In so doing, you not only re-affirm your connection to your clients, but you also establish another element of your corporate identity in a way that elevates your profile without directly soliciting your client’s business. This type of tangential marketing gains mindshare in a subliminally powerful manner.
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At the event, leave the spot light on the not-for-profit. Do not attempt to market your agency. Leave that to the osmotic effect of your involvement. Trust in people’s ability to connect the dots. Overt attempts at marketing at this juncture will almost certainly be ill-received. Instead, graciously keep everyone focused on your partner organization. Be sure to mix well during the event, and meet as many of the participants and attendees as possible.
After the event, follow up with everyone that attended with a personal note thanking them for their involvement. It is perfectly appropriate to do so on your letterhead. Again, it is not necessary or even desirable to directly or overtly market at this juncture. Likewise, follow up with those who could not attend. Summarize the event and thank them for their support.
Involving yourself with local not-for-profits leverages their good will and involves you at a community level with a worthy cause. The good marketing karma engendered by such efforts will raise your local profile and inure to your benefit. The cost is mostly the very serious outlay of time and energy, but the payoff is in good will and a list of local contacts that might otherwise not be available to your agency.