The Value of Pro Bono PR Work
By: Kelsey Cleary
Does your company have a community outreach program? Support a charity? Or sponsor an event?
If something comes to mind (and I hope it did), then you probably know the great feeling that comes with being involved in an effort that benefits others. Identity, like many other companies, has provided professional time, volunteer hours and monetary support to dozens of organizations over for the past 20 years. And I’ve had the good fortune of being involved in many of our pro bono PR efforts.
At our heart, we believe in doing well by doing good—and we’re fueled by it!
Our Perspective on Pro Bono PR Work
As an agency, it’s important to consider several factors before deciding where to contribute time and resources. We look at an organization and decide if their mission and needs are in alignment with our industry, services and, most importantly, core values and company culture. If it’s just about giving money, there are lots of charities which will gladly accept a donation. With our work, giving our time and experience is what creates a lasting impact.
Donating our time and talent to causes we believe in, while also providing access to our network of clients, is an important aspect of our company culture. We make a concerted effort to make corporate giving a key part of our firm’s strategy, and are shown great leadership by Identity President and Founding Partner Mark Winter, who sits on several boards and committees, including The Heat and Warmth Fund and Holtzman Wildlife Foundation.
Mark shared some great insight in a previous post directed at executives who may be thinking of joining a nonprofit board. If you haven’t read it, it’s worth your time.
The Agency Benefit
We’ve also discovered that the time and energy we invest in pro bono PR work has led to some great benefits for the agency. Here are a few:
- Autonomous accountability for junior-level employees. Pro bono PR programs represent a great way to get newer employees engrained in the account process, and I have been fortunate to be on the front line of a few of these opportunities. Pro bono PR work provides a great runway for junior-level employees to lead an account, define the scope of the engagement and work with colleagues to execute deliverables.
- Develop and master new skills. Assisting in pro bono PR work helps to get out of the day-to-day routine. It provides room to grow and experiment with new strategies, tactics and the latest tools, and offers the flexibility to develop a new skill. We can think big and act bold.
- Network growth. We love meeting new people and hearing interesting stories about growing companies and organizations. By developing great relationships, such as by sitting on a committee or board of directors where you demonstrate your capabilities firsthand, you can find great contacts and recommendations that lead to securing new clients. We’ve been able to meet several great potential clients, and referral sources, by being active in the community.
Reflecting on our 2018 Pro Bono PR Work (So Far)
Pro bono PR work continues to be an important part of how we give back. This year alone, we’ve partnered with several different organizations to help amplify their message and support their media outreach. Here are just a few examples of our 2018 pro bono PR initiatives:
Reggie Jackson’s DETermined to Assist Foundation: We provided and executed a media outreach strategy, which lead to extensive coverage of their Pistons and Plates fundraising event to fund Literacy Lounges in Title I Detroit elementary schools. Identity is sponsoring a Literacy Lounge as part of our 20th anniversary initiative in 2018.
Ste. Anne de Detroit Parish: Founded in 1701, Ste. Anne Parish is the second-oldest continually operating Catholic Church in the United States. Identity provided media relations support to help maximize their announcement of applying for a prestigious minor basilica recognition from the Pope. The announcement was covered in the Michigan Catholic, Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, among other prominent publications.
The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW): Our planning efforts led to increased internal participation on the THAW board of directors and media coverage of their annual Winter Survival Radiothon with WWJ Newsradio 950.