From “PR Rules: The Playbook—The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Supersizing Your Small Business.” Available in April 2014
By Hope Katz Gibbs, with Kathleen McCarthy
PR Rules: The Playbook
Why is it important to pay it forward? In this section of PR Rules: The Playbook, we offer a deep dive into what it means to give back—and a variety of ways you can help others, while reinforcing your brand.
In our “Playbook,” you’ll also find interactive exercises to get you started on your journey. For now, here are some of the basics to get you thinking about your next big “give.”
Understand the Power of Paying It Forward
What it is:
- A great way to share your experience, and help those in need.
- A great way to show the world you care. Giving your time and expertise is as valuable as giving cash.
- A great way to market your business. When you work with others who are volunteering at the same nonprofit or social business, the synergy of interests will also reflect well on you and your business.
What it’s not:
- It’s not a way to boost your ego. There are more than 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States, and another 1.2 million around the world. At least one of them, if not several, could use your help. Rather than investing your ego, time, and money in starting up an organization that may, or may not, succeed—pay it forward by joining forces with a group that is already established.
- It’s not an opportunity to sell your wares.
- It’s not an easy industry to work in. “The current problem is that nonprofits are competing for dollars in communities that do similar sorts of activities,” says Lisa Anne Thompson Taylor, who helps philanthropists and nonprofits achieve the gold standard in nonprofit partnerships and governance through her company, Taylor Strategic Partnerships. “Philanthropists always tell me: ‘We get asked by a lot of organizations to do the same thing—why aren’t they working together?’”
Why it’s important:
We asked the directors of some of our favorite nonprofits for reasons why you should invest your time and money in their organizations. Here’s what they said:
- Charles Best, DonorsChoose.org: “I knew there were people from all walks of life around the country who would want to improve our public schools.” Read more about Best here.
- Steve Gross, Life is good Playmakers: “Millions of our nation’s youngest children have experienced profound trauma in its many forms. It’s a silent epidemic. Life can hurt—but play can heal. Our ultimate goal is to help the people who care for the kids who are in the most life-threatening positions find ways to create sacred spaces to let the joy seep out.” Read more about the Playmakers here.
- Kim Valentini, Smile Network International: “Every year thousands of children in developing countries are born with facial deformities—such as cleft lips and cleft palates. These children suffer rejection and social injustices and frequently are hidden away from the mainstream of everyday life. Through global partnerships that enable volunteers to build trust in foreign countries, these relationships provide Smile Network the opportunity to conduct surgical missions and to impart dignity and a better quality of life to individuals whose medical needs may otherwise go untreated.” Read more about the Smile Network here.