A smartly planned Corporate Social Responsibility campaign is a great way to raise awareness and create bonds between a business and the communities they operate in, while also being genuinely involved into helping those in need. And no one is more aware of the many advantages of CSR than PR firms!
In its 25 year presence on the PR market, Weber Shandwick has been striving to make difference in the community. Over the past 10 years, they have worked with over 30 nonprofit organizations, helping them to get their message herd by the public. To achieve the highest levels of service for the nonprofits their team donates their time and effort to, the PR firm has a clear plan:
“We sit with them and we really work on what their business challenges are,” said Weber Shandwick President Sara Gavin. “And from a professional community standpoint, we tell them in what ways we can help.”
To select their pro bono clients, Weber Shandwick receives applications from Twin Cities nonprofits each year. After choosing one client, they invest a full year into meeting the organization’s PR goals. To make sure they help the organizations that applied but did not get to be their client, Weber Shandwick invites them to their annual “Telling Your Story” workshop, which is a free, one-day event featuring speakers and one-on-one consulting with a number of Weber Shandwick employees.
The reason they started the workshop was the large number of quality organizations applying for the yearly pro bono work and the limitations the PR firm has in helping them all. Only being able to help one was no longer enough, said Julie Hurbanis, executive vice president and pro bono lead at the firm.
“During the client selection process, we would sit in a room going through the applications, and just kept thinking how hard it was to pick only one,” she said.
“Like other nonprofit organizations, we have very limited resources. So, [being selected] meant that we could start really raising awareness for the program,” said Amy Jenkins, director of development at People Serving People, 2009 pro bono client.
Other than the pro bono client of the year, Weber Shandwich also has a Loan program in place. It allows each Weber Shandwick employee including non-PR professionals to volunteer in the community. About 75 percent of employees choose to volunteer their time.