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June 5, 2012 12:11 am

Charity Work is Good PR

avatar by Ronn Torossian

Email a copy of "Charity Work is Good PR" to a friend

Congressman Keith Ellison (far left) cutting onions at a soup kitchen in Washington D.C. Photo: wiki commons.

Giving charity is a vital part of communal life, and a responsibility which I feel many young Jews tend to forget.  We all have the obligation and the responsibility to give of ourselves to charity, and that includes money, time, sweat, and tears.

Growing up, my mother, Penny Waga, made sure our home was the type where giving wasn’t an option; it was a requirement.  Even though my family didn’t have much, whether it was money, time, attention, or sharing thoughts my mother expected us to be givers. For me, acts of charity are part of a holy, higher value that is relevant for all people regardless of how much or how little they have. Personally, I donate 10 percent of my income annually to charity, and my company matches employees’ charitable contributions dollar for dollar. The same spirit should be embodied as corporate policy for all brands and businesses.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can sometimes be seen as disingenuous window dressing for companies and brands.  Seeing the ubiquitous “Social Responsibility,” “Green,” or “Community Outreach” tabs on company websites tends to resonate with consumers very little. At my firm, 5WPR, we have worked with brands that look at donations as a way to give back to consumers and believe it or not, often, individuals, businesses, and corporations (some, not all of them) are devoted to a goal larger than their own sales and profits.

Charity works best with dedication to, and belief in a cause. If not, the insincerity shows like a cheap suit, as republican strategist Roger Stone says, “You can’t just write large checks and think you’re doing good work. You have to take on specific problems that interest you, and spend your money, time, and business capabilities on them.”

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When its done right – with sincerity and full commitment – engaging in corporate social responsibility can bring personal and professional fulfillment, as well as convey a positive image for your brand.

I love helping companies successfully build market share through good deeds. I get much enjoyment from helping organizations that I believe in and one must never underestimate the power of giving and the pleasure it engenders. Ultimately, when you feel good, you can succeed better in your own business.

Ronn Torossian is the author of “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations”, a Public Relations book available for purchase here.

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