As the founder of OnPurpose PR in Fairfield County, Conn., I firmly believe that regardless of the age, stage or phase of any organization, there are many ways to make a social impact.
If you are a newly established PR consultancy, perhaps you cannot donate funds to charity yet, but with your expansive network, you may be able to rally others around a good cause. If you lead a growing PR agency, then perhaps you can make a significant impact on a social issue such as food insecurity. Or, if your company is a well-established iconic brand looking to give back as a team (with a bit of fun competition), then you can host a collection drive that engages groups to vie for the title of “making the greatest social impact.”
There are countless ways to give and motivate others to do so for the betterment of the communities where we live, work and play. Before getting started, remember to carefully vet all nonprofits and authentically align your agency, clients and employers with mutually beneficial partnerships.
To help you in your efforts, here are five of my favorite platforms for organizations that want to make an impact.
RunSignUp makes it easy for anyone to add the title of “virtual race director” to their résumé! While I discovered this platform during the height of COVID when creative solutions were needed for social impact initiatives, we continue to use it to host virtual 5Ks. The platform empowers companies to rally their team members, strategic partners, and colleagues for a good cause and have fun while doing it.
Through our work with Branded Group, we are getting ready to launch the third annual #BeBetter Together Virtual 5K. During the client’s inaugural 5K in 2020, about 60 participants ran, walked, or biked, donating $1,500 to Second Harvest Food Bank. In 2021, we saw tremendous growth with 116 participants donating $8,500 to The Priority Center of Orange County. Inspired by the outcome of the initial virtual 5K, I volunteered with community members to launch the #WeAreWeston 5K in support of our local food bank. Our neighbors collectively donated $2,000.
• Custom Ink
While running a 5K may not be for everyone, a well-designed T-shirt supporting a good cause elicits widespread support! In addition to any fundraising event, consider designing and selling a tee-shirt through Custom Ink’s fundraising feature, which encourages users to raise money and awareness for charities they care about. By selling T-shirts to support the #WeAreWeston 5K, we raised an additional $2,100. A local graphic designer donated time and expertise to create the logo used for the 5K promotion and the T-shirt.
Like our client allnex-Wallingford, your organization may choose to align with a local nonprofit to launch a 5K and T-shirt sale. Through allnex’s partnership with the Spanish Community of Wallingford (SCOW), whose mission is to respond to the needs of the Latino Community by assisting them to succeed in U.S. society, allnex helped SCOW to raise several thousand dollars! I will say that SCOW rocked the promotion of this 5K with a heavy social media push — complete with video support from their team and board members.
DonorsChoose.org makes it easy for anyone to help a teacher in need. With the highest rating on Charity Navigator, the DonorsChoose.org team has vetted and filled over 1.7 million classroom projects — impressive!
Through our client work, we have helped to fulfill several classroom projects including “Escape the Biology Classroom” kits, which provided everything the students needed to play over 900 escape room games. In addition to the good vibes you get, donors also receive thank you notes from the teacher and students.
Through a quick location search on the website, your company can choose to fulfill the needs of local teachers. Does your company prefer to sponsor projects that focus on STEM, literacy, or food insecurity? You can search by subject focus too. Also, as a business owner, I’ve enjoyed gifting DonorsChoose.org gift cards to clients, enabling them to choose a project.
YouGiveGoods makes online collection drives simple. Through their comprehensive online platform and superior customer support, your company can start a drive free of charge today. Upon signup, you receive a branded webpage for promotion and easy tracking of the collection drive goal. Our clients have used YouGiveGoods for holiday food drives and school supply drives. Upon completion, YouGiveGoods makes one shipment to the recipient organization. We typically have our clients visit the nonprofit on the day of delivery to be part of the gifting excitement and to take photos.
• Gifts for Good
Gifts for Good is a certified B Corporation with a mission to empower the world to help people and the planet through gift-giving. Impressively, their “gifts support the work of over 60 nonprofits and social enterprises in 50 states and 72 countries around the globe — in Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and The Americas.” Gifts for Good empowers everyone to make a social impact through gifting.
In the past year, because one of our clients has chosen to use Gifts for Good for their gifting, it has resulted in 336 months of clean drinking water to families, 399 trees being planted, 30 months of school supplies, and 340 masks for healthcare workers, and the list goes on. Gifts for Good tracks the impact of all of your company gifting and provides a comprehensive report. In addition, Gifts for Good uses offers custom sustainable packaging, social impact story cards, branded apparel, and “in your honor” donation cards. I also enjoy gifting to my clients through Gifts for Good. Additionally, founder and CEO Laura Hertz, is a force for good. To learn more, listen to her story on this podcast.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make a social impact! Did I miss any platforms that you prefer? Please share!
Jennifer Bernheim thrives on serving purpose-driven businesses. As the founder of OnPurpose PR, a boutique public relations agency created for brands that are driven to strategically communicate purpose beyond profit, Bernheim advises clients on how to make a meaningful impact. In addition to consulting, she enjoys her adjunct professor role at Fairfield University. She is also actively involved in her community.
[Photo credit: Svitlana]