Dec 21, 2018 / in Comms Best Practices / by Kayla Matthews

Everyone gets those warm and fuzzy feelings during the holidays, and while there's never a bad time to give back, the spirit of the season often prompts people to give more.

From large corporations to small businesses, volunteering your time, giving away products or donating money can inspire employees and the community around you.

Try getting in the holiday spirit with these six charitable PR campaign ideas that are personally rewarding and can earn your business some positive buzz.

1. Partner With Another Organization

If you don't have the resources or time to volunteer alone, try partnering with another organization in your community that has the same goals. You could also coordinate an event where multiple businesses in the same area or even around the country give back at the same time.

That's the strategy with Startups Give Back, a volunteering event where local startups get together to help nonprofits. You can start a chapter in your community and get other startups to join in. Plan the event around the holidays and contact your local media outlets to let them know when it will happen.

2. Center It Around Your Brand

Whatever charitable PR campaign idea you choose, it should center it around your brand. Doing so is a great marketing opportunity to explain why your particular volunteer work or donation is meaningful to your company. You can also talk to the organization that you support and see if they would consider adding the company's name to their own public relations efforts about the event.

Target is a great example of a company that overhauled its giving to match its brand. When Target started to focus more on wellness, the company partnered with the U.S. Fund of UNICEF to create an activity bracelet that will raise money for charity and get distributed to kids for free in school.

3. Make Community Connections

If you're not sure what volunteer opportunity would match your brand, try contacting different community organizations to see what their needs are. This process is a great PR strategy for small businesses who rely on the community to keep them in business. You can build relationships with other organizations, network and draw in more customers who hear about your charity work in the community.

MODE, an overstock jeans business with stores in North Dakota and Iowa, made community engagement a hallmark of the business from the start. Now, the four stores collect jeans for those who need them and hold sales where 20 percent of the profits go to a local charity.

4. Make It Festive

Giving back doesn't always mean painting walls or some form of manual labor. One of the best ways to gain positive PR around your charitable giving is to plan a fun event related to the holidays. You can even ask employees to join in so that they feel like they can be a part of the positive change.

NeoSystems executed this plan perfectly when they held a holiday family movie night for Orlando's homeless. In addition to the movie, the company handed out gift bags with toys, school supplies and holiday candy to women and children. DHL is another company that capitalizes on holiday spirit. They deliver 500 Christmas trees with lights and ornaments to soldiers stationed abroad.

5. Give Employees the Day Off

If you can afford to give employees the day — or even just a few hours — off, start a program for employees who want to volunteer. Give them a day or an hour or two of paid time to volunteer at a charity of their choice.

You can even choose one day out of the year as your company's "volunteer day." Make t-shirts and participate in events throughout the community so that your company's brand is clearly visible the whole time.

Lowe's employees are a great example of people who give back. The company supported affordable housing in Charlotte, NC, by building or repairing homes for 20 families in the area. Lowe's employees even helped build and replace the homes.

6. Donate Products

The holiday season is a time for giving, and you can help by donating toys or other products to families during the holidays. It's a great way to put items to use that might not have sold, and you can establish your company's name as a community leader that genuinely cares for the people living around you.

Toys for Tots® is one program that a variety of companies get behind. Corporations such as Disney, Hallmark, Hess, UPS, Macy's and more all donate toys or money so that kids can get gifts for Christmas that they may not have been able to get before.

There's No One Way to Give Back

There's no single way to give back during the holidays.

Figure out what gesture would mean the most to your employees and the community, then organize marketing or PR efforts that make people aware of your company and let individuals in the community know you're here to help.

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About Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews writes about branding and digital marketing for websites like Convince and Convert, The Daily Muse and VICE. You can learn more about Kayla and her brands here.