Red Fan Communications: Giving is Good for Business

Giving is Good for Business

At Red Fan Communications we pride ourselves on giving back to the Austin community through financial support, volunteer work and lending our professional expertise on matters of public relations for nonprofit organizations. We believe that philanthropy should be woven into the fabric of our company culture because when we give, we invest in something bigger and greater than ourselves: a stronger and healthier community. We’ve been proud to work with many nonprofit and charitable organizations to manage events and increase awareness of their philanthropic goals and accomplishments, including Austin Gives.

Austin Gives is a community program that recognizes and encourages business philanthropy in metropolitan Austin and one of Red Fan’s clients. The organization recently interviewed our president and founder Kathleen Lucente on why giving back has become so important to her and the Red Fan team. Read up on the conversation, below.

What is the primary motivation for your philanthropy?

Corporate philanthropy is part of the fabric of who I am and how I have chosen to build Red Fan Communications. I also know that my team loves working with meaningful clients that are making a difference locally.

I selected to live in Austin, Texas, nine years ago after walking away from my role as the head of corporate communications for JPMorgan Chase’s Asia Pacific area, managing public relations across 18 countries. Moving to Austin was a quality-of-life decision for my family and I, and when I started Red Fan Communications, I knew that as a company we would selectively focus our efforts on giving back to the community in meaningful ways.

Austin is a growing and increasingly competitive city where companies put a lot of forethought into their corporate culture, and when I first became involved with Austin Gives, I could see early on the benefit that Red Fan could provide the organization through strategic PR efforts. Now in our third year, partnering with Austin Gives has been a true treat because we are able to see Austin Gives’ members show their generosity to the Austin community in unique ways and be awarded for these efforts each year at the GeneroCity Awards.

In addition to our work with Austin Gives, Red Fan also provides in-kind services to Komen Austin, the Austin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen. For the second year, our team will be managing PR for the upcoming Pink! Party on April 24th. In addition, we have handled all PR for the Austin Trail of Lights Foundation (the Trail) since 2013, in addition to establishing strategic media sponsorships for the nonprofit. We just completed the 50th anniversary celebration for the Trail, and it was one of the best years yet. Corporate and individual sponsors across Austin generously stepped up to make it financially possible for this event to continue in our community, and our team was happy to share that news with reporters.

How do you choose who you donate your services to?

It has to be a cause we connect with and are passionate about - something that we can truly enjoy and learn from. It also has to make sense for our business and allow opportunities for Red Fan to showcase what it does best.

The nonprofit gets tremendous value from the business partner; what are some things businesses should expect to get from their nonprofit partner?

The best nonprofit and business relationships start with strategic objectives and a set plan in place - just like with a paying client. The partnership should include a formal agreement that maps to a specific dollar amount, outlined goals, a timeline that includes strict deadlines, regular meetings and agreed-upon measurements of success.

Thus, the work that results from this partnership should be something that both the nonprofit and the business partner can proudly point to as an achievement.

What are the benefits of business philanthropy?

Not only does it make you feel good, but it keeps you connected to the community and provides a number of other benefits for business owners, including professional development and the sharpening of problem-solving skills.

  • Boosts morale: Having a pro bono client in the Red Fan client mix boosts morale for everyone involved. Our agency might distribute an earnings press release for one client, announce the launch of a new product for another client and complete media outreach for Austin Gives all in one day. That work for our pro bono clients reminds us of the good work Austin nonprofits are doing locally.
  • Professional development: I have seen my staff reach new professional heights by getting their start with pro bono accounts and translating that experience to other accounts gracefully.
  • Sharpens problem-solving skills: Every pro bono client has a story to tell and crafting that story in a standout way is something our staff works at diligently. In order to do a great job, we need to understand the competition, opportunities and challenges of the client and their target demographic. It keeps the Red Fan team engaged in the Austin community and that’s a major advantage for all of our clients.

Red Fan Communications encourages local business leaders to attend the third annual Austin Gives GeneroCity Awards luncheon on Jan. 8, 2015 at 11:30 a.m. at the Hilton Austin Hotel. The keynote speaker for the 2015 event will be accomplished musician and local philanthropist, Ray Benson and emceed by KEYE-TV anchors, Hema Mullur and Walt Maciborski.

To be a table sponsor for the 2015 GeneroCity Awards, please visit http://conta.cc/1F0K6ZM. Individual tickets for the awards ceremony can also be purchased at http://conta.cc/11q1Azx.

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