In today’s competitive market place, it’s becoming harder and harder to promote one’s name, brand, or business. One unique and underused marketing strategy involves making a sizeable charitable donation.
If that sounds a little unethical, it’s not. There’s nothing with capitalizing on the opportunity to self-promote and do some good in the world at the same time—two birds, one stone.
No, seriously, it’s done all the time. In fact, it’s proven to be an effective strategy for celebrities, politicians, athletes, and business leaders alike.
Take, for example, this headline featured in The New York Times: Chance the Rapper Donates $1 Million to Chicago’s Public Schools. Is Chance the Rapper legitimately passionate about education and the arts? Absolutely! But was he also doing it as a means to garner positive press around his name? Probably. But again, there’s nothing wrong with that.
As a general rule of thumb, the larger the donation, the more press it’s going to get. But in some cases, a person or a company may not need to make national headlines. This is especially true of localized businesses whose target audience resides in the immediate area. In that case, a $20,000-$50,000 donation is enough to make the local papers or news stations.
But if the goal is to reach a wider audience, the donation will need to be substantially larger. How large? At least $100,000. But there are other factors to consider as well.
The type of charity that one gives to matters just as much (if not more) than the amount of the donation. Going back to the example of Chance the Rapper, his donation was particularly noteworthy due to his own personal background.
Chance the Rapper, whose real name is Chancelor Bennett, is a Chicago native who grew up in the West Chatham neighborhood. He decided to give to schools that are located in financially ailing districts—schools that coincidentally have a lot of minority students. Being African American, his donation made for a great story about how race intersects with money, education, and access to resources. That’s why the news of his donation made headlines.
Businesses looking to promote their services should seek to emulate this type of philanthropy. The best way to ensure that the donation will capture the media’s attention is to look at it through the eyes of the press. In other words, businesses should ask themselves this key question: is this a story that is engaging, interesting, and worth reading?