How to Combine PR With Altruism

How to Combine PR With Altruism

How To Ensure Your Business Activities Make A Difference…and not just to your Business


learning 2Those of you that read this blog regularly will know that I’m currently in the middle of an adventure with my Business Psychology MSc. It’s fascinating, not least because of the intrinsic content, but also in the way that each student makes the content and reading their own. I have a friend with a background in aviation who is applying what we’re learning to female pilots. A significant percentage of students are coming from a clinical psychology background, with the ultimate aim of wanting to make the NHS and similar organisations a better and more efficient place. I’ve tried not to stay too much within the PR and marketing camp myself, wanting to use the course as a way to open my mind  up. What’s come up for me is that I’ve become interested in the subject of altruism.

Now, I’m going to be frank here. I’m a little bit ashamed to say that altruism doesn’t come easily to me. Yes, I am always ready to help a friend etc, but bringing altruism into my work has been more of an ideal, than a goal. It’s something for “when I’ve got time,” or “I’m earning enough money and can afford the attention”. The truth, of course, is that there is never enough time, unless you make it, and you’ll probably always have moving financial goalposts as your life situation changes.

However, reading and studying people who have big pro-social goals has been inspiring, and I have been pondering how anyone can bring altruism into their business, without necessarily starting a charity or social enterprise. Some of the things I’ve come up with have been (this list is not for seasoned practitioners of altruism so please be patient, although if you can add to this I’d love to here from you in the comments).

  1. Set up an initiative as Rachel McGuinness has done with Zestember where she encourages people to take a look at, and upgrade their well-beingrachel mcguiness during the month of September. Rachel gives away tips and advice and offers encouragement and support via social media…all for free.

“I wanted to create a health awareness campaign that I just put ‘out there’ for the greater good or as I call it ‘spreading the zest’!  Like Movember without the moustaches!  But something that focuses on overall health and wellbeing.  Back in 2013 I was writing a report on health and as I started to research statistics, I was really alarmed by the impact on healthcare systems of preventable illnesses and diseases caused by unhealthy living.  With budget cuts and increasing shortages of doctors and nurses there has never ever been a better time to start looking after our health.  I describe Zestember as being a ‘team effort’, as there are loads of us all making improvements to our health at the same time.  Being healthy means different things to different people, for some it’s a few tweaks and for others it’s a massive lifestyle change, so Zestember can help in all sorts of different ways.”

2.  Get behind a cause you feel passionate about. This doesn’t have to be raising money for a charity, although this is an obviously easy choice. I’ve worked with clinical psychologist and personal brand consultant Lisa Orban of on encouraging people to do more for charity than running the usual 5k. We’ve interviewed people about what it’s like to be a trustee, to found a charity, or support one through you work. You can these at interviews here.

From our press release:

The #StepItUp4Charity campaign

Lisa believes we are sometime too blinkered in the ways we go about supporting charities, limiting ourselves to the tried and tested charity runs, dry months or financial donations. While acknowledging that these are still important ways to get involved, Lisa encourages those who can to step up and become more invested, perhaps in ways they haven’t thought of, such as volunteering their time or professional skills. As lawyer Annabel Kaye says, “There are many people who feel marginalised because they physically cannot do things like run 5k.”

Lisa’s aim is to inspire others to step up and do more. She has collated inspiring interviews from people who have stepped up. On Lisa’s blog at you can read the story of people like:

  • Chef Hulya Erdal who, when she’s not privately teaching or cooking, works with low income families helping them budget and create delicious meals from low cost ingredients
  • Human rights lawyer Sharon Benning-Price who offers her legal eye to organisations like Medaille and The International Justice Mission
  • Travel agent Debbie Suenson-Taylor who is thinking about up and coming generations of girls and young women through her work with Zonta
  • Annabel Kaye’s work with endometriosis sufferers who need to be informed of their disability rights in the workplace
  • Tango teacher David Bailey who showcases his teaching techniques through donating charity lessons whilst supporting a good cause at the same time.
Tax expert Faye watts

Faye Watts

3. Inspire others. I’ve been working with tax expert and founder of accountancy firm Fuse Accountants, Faye Watts, on encouraging women to consider going into the financial professions, a career that Faye believes is hugely empowering for a woman who many reasons. We’ve interviewed many women in finance over on Faye’s blog at (and do get in touch if you’d like to be one of our interviewees), and had coverage of the campaign in various publications including Changing Careers magazine.

4. Use your social media contacts. Two campaigns I’ve loved are Lucy Williams’ the Kindness project and her Rucksack Project, both of which were publicised using social media networks like Facebook. You can read more about them here. It’s a lovely testament to the fact that one person can make a difference.

5. Include a donation in the price of your service or product, as Jo Dodds has done in her productivity support programme Get Stuff Done. A whole month of ass-kicking to get niggly projects done in as little as 25 minutes a day, plus 10% of your payment going to help people who need it via a donation to Jo’s chosen charity, ACTs.

So, what am I doing? Well, for a start I’ve decided to help spread the word to help people doing projects like these through my Scarlet Thinkers series on my blog. These are interviews with people who are thinking differently, many of which are working for causes close to their heart, like Rachel Salway, whose business supports anti-trafficking campaigns.

I’m also keen to work with people and businesses who would like to bring some kind of socially responsible angle to their business, PR or social media. My work with Faye and Lisa above is a great example of how people can support a passion, and I’d like to do more. You can have a strong idea of what difference you would like to make, or just a vague thought that you’d like to do more. No matter. We can work with what you have and make it happen.

Having me as your PR and marketing team, or a part of it, can cost as little as £650 a month. Do get in touch if you’d like to discuss.




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