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Five Ideas for Nonprofits to Gain Free Media from Corporate Volunteerism

Oct 24, 2019

This is the first post of our new guest blog series Knack, highlighting purposeful and powerful, local voices exploring nonprofit ideas, feelings, and know-how. 

Featured Guest Voice |  Vicki Davis, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Twiggs & Co.

Five Ideas for Nonprofits to Gain Free Media from Corporate Volunteerism

More and more, society is demanding that companies become purpose-driven. Corporations are not only competing for customers but also for employees and the public’s favor. Nonprofits should capitalize on businesses being a force for good by establishing a strategic corporate volunteer program. Nonprofits can grow their labor force, gain access to new donors and networks, and earn free authentic media coverage through corporate volunteerism. 

Below are five ideas on how nonprofits can use corporate volunteers to earn free media buzz:

1. Create mission-focused challenges that inspire friendly competition within corporate departments and across industries.

For example, a nonprofit in Florida recycled old mattresses by selling its parts (cotton, steel, wood, foam, etc.) as commodities. They already had a relationship with one Orlando theme park, “DW.” The organization asked DW to publicly challenge another Orlando theme park “US” by tagging both US and the nonprofit in a mattress deconstruction competition. US accepted the challenge and defeated DW’s deconstruction count. US bragged about it on social media, tagging both DW and the nonprofit. Not to be outdone, DW brought three busloads of corporate volunteers, shattered the record, and announced it on social media, tagging both US and the nonprofit.

2. Take pictures and videos of the corporate volunteers onsite.

Nothing is more compelling than a group of people in matching shirts working hard to make their communities better. Take pictures of the group doing mission-focused work (people, puppies, gardens, houses, etc.). Take photos of the group with your staff. Capture silly moments and resting moments and diligent moments. Take :30 videos of some corporate volunteers expressing how your mission impacted them. Share all of these on social media and tag the corporation. Ask the corporation to reciprocate on their social channels.

3. Share a joint press release.

Did a business help your organization in a big way through donations and volunteerism? Let the public know much you appreciate the company by writing a press release telling the community about the many ways they impacted your mission. Get quotes from corporate volunteers and executives about what your mission means to them. Share with media outlets, your social channels, and ask the company to do the same.

4. Feature the business’ volunteer work in your newsletter, website, and report of giving.

Companies are looking for earned media for their good-work as well. Giving them recognition in your publications gives them free press, clout, and access to your network. If done correctly, you can use this “shout-out” space to gain more corporate volunteers; businesses are always competing even in the philanthropy space. Ask the corporation to feature you in their company newsletters.

5. Report companies’ impact back to them. 

Companies need to know that they are receiving a return on their investment (ROI). Time, money, and publicity are part of the community engagement portfolio. Keep track of corporations’ volunteer hours (total hours and the value of those hours), company and corporate volunteer gifts, social media engagement statistics, and mission impact.

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ABOUT VICKI DAVIS | Connect with Vicki on Linkedin

Vicki Davis has been building a more connected, purpose-driven community for 15 years. She is the VP of Strategic Partnerships at Twiggs & Co., a full service corporate social responsibility consulting firm. She is an expert relationship manager, passionate servant leader, and an exponential impact generator.

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