Five Ways to Keep Your Giving Campaign on a Positive Path

Five Ways to Keep Your Giving Campaign on a Positive Path

As a business owner, you are always looking for ways to boost your followers and customers. You feel good about your business and you want others to feel that way about you too. So, one of the ways you are thinking about increasing this feeling of love towards your business is by giving back to a deserving charity or cause. There are so many positives to donating your time and money to a deserving group, but there can be negatives as well if you are not careful how you go about it. Giving is so ingrained in us from a young age. Think about little babies trying to share their food with you. Then as a society, we value people that are willing to give or volunteer their time. As an individual, you are praised for your altruism but as a business, you are often held to a different standard. You as the business owner might have your heart in the right place but it’s all about perception and what your audience thinks your motives are. It’s important to remember that you need to have a feel for your audience and that they know you aren’t just in it to sell more products. Here are five ways to keep your giving campaign on a positive path.

1. Do YOUR Research

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is lack of research or testing. This is one of the most important of the ways to keep a giving campaign on track. Don’t just jump into it and assume you know everything about the population that you want to sell to or help. One example that’s not a giving campaign but helps get a point across is Airbnb and how they tried to break into the Chinese market. Now I’m sure you are familiar with the Airbnb concept of renting out your home to travelers to make you feel more like a local, a great business model but they didn’t do their due diligence when it comes to the Chinese people.


Airbnb ended up marketing a business that didn’t fit the culture, and the population didn’t understand the concept of strangers sharing a home and it even ended up with people thinking it was some sort of brothel.

Educate yourself, if you don’t know your topic, target group or population then someone is going to call you out on it! Especially when it comes to social media, which can spread like a wildfire in either a positive or negative way. As we all have seen people on social media can either be vicious or your biggest fan!

A recent campaign that had its heart in the right place was done by an accessories company called Icing. They wanted to help with breast cancer awareness and give back. Their campaign included a model wearing heart-shaped pasties over her nipples and a see-through shirt, with the tagline Save the Ta Ta’s and selling clothing and accessories with the word Fearless on them.

One huge problem with this campaign is that they used an almost naked model to represent a population that is fighting something much more serious than being sexy. Social media went bizerk and so many cancer survivors let Icing know what they thought about their campaign. One individual on Twitter called them out saying “This is so cruel to all breast cancer patients and survivors. How could anyone sexualize breast cancer for profit, DISGUSTING”.

Another issue with their campaign is it’s really hard to find out on their site how much they are going to donate. If you are helping you should be transparent and be honest about how much you are going to give and let me tell you people on social media let them know that! Also, watch out on Twitter it’s easy to post fast and without thinking. Don’t be impulsive. Just like in everyday tasks, impulsivity a lot of times doesn’t work out the way you would like. Impulsivity and social media doesn’t always mix; mistakes can happen that way. Always remember to be thoughtful when you post, write or support a cause. Breast Cancer Survivors and supports were so outraged stories could be found in these publications.

The New York Post

The World News

Fox News

Not exactly the press you want.

2. It’s Not All About You. Be Authentic.

Be social and get out and promote positive campaigns on social media. Don’t always post about yourself or your company. It’s pretentious and it’s not putting your best foot forward. It’s great to promote other blog content and it, in turn, promotes good karma where they support your cause. Don’t hide things and be straightforward in your posts. People will see right through you if you are fake. Ask yourself “what am I trying to gain from this”? If it’s all about you then you need to rethink your campaign and purpose. It’s important to make people feel like they are essential to you and your business. It’s good to appeal to a sense of community by supporting another blogger, company or non-profit and it’s a wonderful way to build up your fan base. Nurture your community. Another way is to be witty or creative. Social media loved a small restaurant in Vancouver that happened to write on a sandwich board “Liam Neeson eats here for free” and he actually showed up. A company could get creative that same way for a giving campaign.

3. Name Other Similar or Positive Campaigns.

Hey, we’re all in it together. And it shows that your company is in it for the cause, not only about self-promotion. You can lift up other companies. Find positive campaigns with positive social media responses to use as examples. Allure promoted the Look at the Know Your Lemon’s campaign, where they promoted breast cancer support and awareness through an unusual but creative way. They posted an egg carton full of different lemons representing different signs of breast cancer.

World Wide Breast Cancer Org

It got people’s attention and even helped get some people to their doctors and saved lives.

Some other good ones are the Tom’s One for One campaign. It’s straightforward, they give a pair of shoes for every pair purchased, no hidden agenda.


4. Ask Don’t Assume

If all else fails, ASK. Don’t assume, you know what they say about making assumptions! Take for example disasters. Fires or hurricanes, remember the movie Clueless?


The character Cher in the movie gets all excited to make a difference in disaster relief and tries to donate her snow skis. Do they really need skis right now? Absolutely not and it’s not appropriate to donate something that doesn’t fit the basic needs right now. It’s a good rule to live by, ask before you assume. No, disaster relief doesn’t need your old ripped sheets but I bet they would appreciate an email asking what they do need before you send off your old junk. The same goes for in your marketing, if you don’t know the answer, then ask. Ask yourself is this cause relevant to your brand or situation? Ask the community or ask a colleague to review what you are thinking about doing. A great example of this is The Hustle when they wanted to help the California Wildfire Victims. They partnered with local organizes and compiled a list of supplies needed for both people and animals and sent it out to their email followers. Oct 11,2017

5. How to Respond if something goes wrong.

No one is perfect we all do our best when it comes to our lives and businesses. So now you find out that you are receiving negative comments or feedback about your business or campaign. The number one rule is to take care of complaints immediately. Not replying in a timely manner can be detrimental to social media. Things happen so fast that you need to catch it before it gets out of control. Silence and ignoring negative comments is never a good thing. Never respond with anger, or be insensitive, that will only fuel the fire. Ignoring and deleting negative comments is a huge mistake. As we have seen recently with a lot of politicians and celebrities, followers take pictures of outrageous comments or posts and it lives on forever on the internet. Admitting your mistakes and owning your need to educate yourself is a good place to start. Taking negativity and using it as a time to learn is important too, it’s all about looking for ways to improve.

If in doubt, ask a colleague to review it for you. Poorly chosen words can get you into deep trouble. Adidas had a breakdown with their wording when they chose to congratulate runners on “surviving” the Boston Marathon, which was a very poor choice of the wording after the bombing that happened there. It’s all about stopping any further damage to your brand and getting out in front of it before it goes beyond repair. In the end, it’s about being honest and being supportive of the cause you are trying to help.

The best advice I can give entrepreneurs that are looking to start a campaign to help a cause is to make absolutely certain that you are not just in it for the sale. Take a step back and look at the big picture and what you want to accomplish. Review, ask questions, and make test runs. My mantra when it comes to a giving campaign is if you are only in it for the sale then you are in it for the fail. Cheesy, right? Well, you know what’s not cheesy is getting your company splattered around the internet as something negative. Giving is such a feel-good thing, remember that being positive brings a positive reaction. If done right a giving campaign can only have great results. Now it’s time to get out there, create your plan, research, ask questions, do your test run, and execute. Create, help, and move mountains!

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