Pro-bono work raises morale and spirits of employees

When an agency or internal PR department at a corporation conducts a pro-bono effort for a charity or a cause campaign for a feel-good organization, it can be more than just good business for a firm.

When an agency or internal PR department at a corporation conducts a pro-bono effort for a charity or a cause campaign for a feel-good organization, it can be more than just good business for a firm. Such beneficial campaigns also boost morale around the office and tend to bring out the best in PR pros.
 
“It's a real plus to be involved in cause-related work because it... gives people a special pleasure and special reward and feeling to be involved in doing what we do, which is marketing and communications campaigns, but to do it and to be giving back,” says Mike Swenson, EVP at Barkley Public Relations.
 
However, a key to picking the right cause effort is knowing what issues resonate with the employees of an agency, says Laura Pennino, CEO of Pennino & Partners.
 
“I would say that if you have a project such as [with] the American Heart Association... that just about everyone knows about, I believe everyone can relate to that,” she says. “And I think what that does is make the cause something that people can really hold on to as a personal connection of some sort. For me, it's entrepreneurship.”
 
Agencies that conduct successful cause efforts also reap the benefits of their work when pitching stories to media outlets, which are looking for new ways to cover topics, such as poverty, says Diane Pardes, president of Pardes Communications.
 
“When you call your contacts, it's a way to reach out to them with something different and something that they feel good about writing about and covering, and they feel that they are helping to make a difference with something that is really for the greater good,” she says. “I've done campaigns where a media outlet was a sponsor of a nonprofit initiative, and all of the sudden you're both on the same team with the same goals working together.”

Key points:
  • Efforts in conjunction with a nonprofit or charity help to raise morale throughout an office
  • Agencies or internal departments should choose a cause effort that the people working on it embrace
  • Cause efforts give agencies a new angle to pitch to the media on subjects that outlets often cover

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