Nonprofit partnerships, corporate reports, more

What makes a nonprofit a good partner for my client?

Nonprofit partnerships
What makes a nonprofit a good partner for my client?

Consumers' purchasing decisions can be positively influenced by brands that are tied to nonprofit causes, but it's essential to team with the right charity.

“Your partner should have logical connections with your brand and also support a cause that is relevant to your target audience,” says Mary Clare Middleton, VP and director of consumer brands at Wheatley & Timmons. “You want to tell a story that appeals to consumers, not [one that] confuses or alienates them.”

Given the popularity of cause-related marketing campaigns, she also advises working with smaller nonprofits to help your brand stand out.

“While the name recognition of larger charities may help in your media outreach, it may also cause your program to get lost among their other campaigns and partnerships,” Middleton explains. “Smaller nonprofits also tend to be more flexible and open to new ideas.”

Corporate reports
How can visuals enhance our annual and CSR reports?

“Annual and [CSR] reports have gone beyond print, thus working harder as a PR tool,” says Lori Wilson, marketing director at Funnel Incorporated.

Transparency, accuracy, and comprehension are key for entities seeking trust and credibility with stakeholders, including consumers, she adds. Visuals such as icons, maps, and infographics can help condense economic, environmental, and social performance trend data to make it more organized, concise, and engaging.

“Vision statements, challenges, or values are difficult to articulate,” Wilson notes, “but illustration can help capture objectives in a meaningful, memorable way.”

The best reports employ visuals to show a process, action plan, or benchmarks.

“Audience understanding is often overestimated,” she says, “but even those familiar with an organization appreciate the boost visuals give to improving understanding or making the information more enjoyable.”

Media outreach
How can you boost a pitch to help reporters notice it?

The drop should be something unique that reporters want to open, not something that sits on a desk for weeks, says Anne Lardner, senior manager of communications, Promotional Products Association International.

“Reporters get pitch after pitch by phone, fax, mail, and e-mail and expect the same mix of materials inside every drop – a news release, fact sheet, and business card, for example,” she adds. “So change things up and include something like a branded promotional product.”

This can tie your pitch, your client, and your reporter together,” notes Lardner, “even if it doesn't directly relate to your client's business.

“The more unique the promotional product,” she adds, “the more weight it carries in keeping the attention on you versus other companies vying for a reporter's eye.”

Send your questions to: Please contact Beth Krietsch if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns. Toolbox is available online at

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