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January is Poverty in America Month

Cause marketing is an effective way not only to increase brand awareness with your customer base, but also to improve the way people perceive your business. Use these ideas for January's Poverty in America month theme for positive public relations (PR) and press locally or nationally.

Make your business a designated point of donation for a local food bank, mission, or another poverty-relieving charity on a year-round basis. Publicize your efforts and draw attention to the charity through regular press releases to share needs and report results. Post statistics about poverty levels and related needs in your community on your Facebook page, blog and e-mail newsletter.

Contact a local shelter or social services agency about the possibility of ‘adopting’ a local family in your community. Support this family with free services or products, through fundraising or by partnering with other businesses for more free services or products or even to conduct a community-wide fundraising campaign. Be sure to keep the family’s identity confidential to preserve dignity.

Create a special offer or extend a reward to those who donate that is redeemable in a subsequent visit to your business. Raise awareness among clients regarding the needs of your ‘adopted’ family with signage at the point of purchase or designated donation area and posts on your Facebook page, blog, e-mail newsletter and/or bag stuffers.

Donate gift cards to local service organizations for distribution to needy families. Extend a special offer to their employees and volunteers.

Contact local shelters regarding their specific needs or conduct a campaign to collect blankets, coats, boots, mittens and other cold weather gear. Hold an event where the cover charge waived when attendees donate money or a specified new item. Give branded tchotchkes, gift cards or extend special offers to those who donate. Don’t forget the press release!

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