Corporate responsibility can’t be an afterthought. Working with consumer-facing clients, and in my daily life, I see a lot of brands hosting fundraisers in partnership with local, regional and national non-profits. If done well, a sound fundraiser or community giving strategy can help align your company with partners that have similar missions, make a genuine impact on a group in need, and build your reputation among target audiences as a brand that cares and gives back.

Here are four tips to ensure you’re choosing the right partner:

  • Do your research. Be on the lookout for partners that have a good reputation within the community – whether local or national; are active and host their own events; and truly support a cause that aligns with your company’s mission. Avoid organizations that have been in the spotlight for supporting hot button issues or have a track record of negative news.
  • Choose a partner that’s easy to work with. You want a fundraiser partner that’s engaged, excited about working together, efficient and respectful of your time, and a true team player. The more collaborative the partnership, the more successful it will be. It also provides the best chance of any future activations that make a meaningful impact.
  • Identify a strong following and activate it. Well-run non-profits have leaders and communication tools – from newsletters to social channels – to reach their passionate and engaged supporters. Partner organizations should be willing to leverage their networks and activate their followings to spread the word about a brand-sponsored fundraiser, auction or charity event and drive participation. Following the event, encourage the non-profit to share the results of the effort with supporters, too.
  • Know where the money is going. A good non-profit partner will be transparent about how a brand’s donation will be used. Will the money stay local? Support a specific program or initiative? PR hint: Sharing exactly how funds will support a community is a great news hook!

Linhart PR has leveraged these four tried-and-true steps hundreds of times when helping clients identify strategic partners to create programming that: 1) drives media and social coverage, 2) builds community support of the respected organization and 3) associates the brand with a worthy, complementary cause. If you’d like to learn more, please contact me at