In PR, we spend lots of time thinking about developing, building and maintaining relationships with the media. It’s important to remember relationships with non-media partners can be just as important to your organization. Being socially responsible can have a powerful impact on the community around you. Your organization should connect with those community organizations that you feel align with your company’s values. It’s great to volunteer your time either individually or with coworkers, but it can also be beneficial to share your professional expertise with those organizations you feel personally connected to.
At Castle, it’s no secret that we take our corporate citizenship seriously. We are actively learning, sticking to our core beliefs, and advocating for equity. We’re aware of the pressing needs of our community and work to pave pathways for others to follow suit. Recently, our internal DE&I committee came together to tackle what we identified as one of those pressing needs, particularly for the communications industry – creating an accessible pathway to a career in communications for Black and Brown students. Knowing that the sector is predominately white, we partnered with a Boston-based non-profit with aligning beliefs to help pave a career path to communications – public relations, events, marketing, crisis, and social media – for a diverse population of talented students who know very little about our industry or what potential opportunities it could hold for them.
Here are a few things to remember when aiming to partner for an impact.
Identify A Need
Making an impact is easier said than done. How do you leave your footprint on the things you care about? To start, identify a need. With so many different things happening within your community, you’ll need to pinpoint where you can help. Finding that symbioticrelationship between your area of expertise and the need of your community is a key step to establishing the foundation of which you’ll begin your impactful journey.
Look around your organization, office, neighborhood. What needs change? Who needs help? Why is that important to you? Where does your expertise play a role in all this? Castle knows that our sector needs to be more diverse. We decided to use our 25 years of experience to become teachers and role models to students who have the potential and talent to lead their generation in communications. A few months ago, we connected with a client who works to provide local students of color in the Boston area with exposure to jobs and mentoring across industries and began discussing potential opportunities for collaboration. With DE&I being one of Castle’s core culture focal points, identifying this need was easy – of course we’d want to continue our work in this space. Addressing it is where the real work is done.
Once you identify a need, identify organizations to partner with. Be it a client, partner, community organization you’ve encountered in the past, or a non-profit you’ve been wanting to reach out to for some time, you should have a deep understanding of their mission and make sure your vision aligns with theirs. Your relationship should fit like a puzzle piece and flow naturally.Once a mutual understanding is clear, the collaboration aspect becomes easier. Listen to what your partner has to say and express your ideas, because they may have better knowledge working on the inside while your outside perspective may prove to be helpful to them. For example, our partner knew their students would benefit and relate most from people closer to their age, so we accommodated and had our junior team members participate in a virtual town hall with the students. In the end, you both should agree on how your organization can help accelerate their cause.
Setting goals is important when thinking through your relationships. What do you want to accomplish? What should the organization get out of a partnership with you? What does success look like? Mapping out your accomplishments throughout a partnership will help you manage your relationship. You’ll be able to see what worked, what didn’t work, and what could be done better next time.
Feeling strongly about something makes it that much easier to follow through, complete it to the best of your ability, and have fun while doing it. Finding something you and your organization feels passionate about, will drive you to continue with the partnership. It’ll keep you involved with the organization past that initial outreach and hopefully reach the end goal for which you were aiming. Partnering with other organizations to provide meaningful value will not only grow the relationship but can truly have an impact on your community.