Teaming up with Adopt-A-Classroom
In public relations, we wear many hats – media experts, event planners, online strategists, counselors, trusted advisors. But like every company’s employees, we are also friends, colleagues, parents, and citizens who care deeply about the communities in which we live and work.
Two years ago, Allison+Partners started a program in which we applied our Cause Marketing Accelerator to find our own nonprofit partner. As we do with our clients, we surveyed our own team members to find the issue that is important to them and then looked for partners with whom we can make a true impact — through our public relations and cause-related marketing expertise and employee engagement opportunities. Last year, we partnered with Big Brothers, Big Sisters and helped launch their Start Something campaign. This year, we are pleased to announce our partnership with Adopt-A-Classroom.
As we started the process of looking for a partnership, we did not have to look far. Adopt-A-Classroom was one of the finalists in our charity search last year. Founder James (Jamie) Rosenberg was disappointed that the organization was not selected in our first effort and made a point to stay in touch with us, sharing updates on their programs and looking for ways that we could still support each other. As Allison+Partners was celebrating its tenth anniversary, Jamie told us that he could find 10 schools for our employees to support. He not only found 10 volunteer projects; he found 10 new “family” members with whom we now have ongoing relationships.
As the founder of Adopt-A-Classroom, Jamie has spent hours and hours building a system in which corporations and individuals can support classrooms across the country through volunteerism and online donations that help teachers purchase needed supplies. Through a volunteer experience of his own, he had come face to face with a hole in our education system in which funding for the basic needs in schools (e.g., paper and pencils) was falling short, leaving teachers to purchase supplies with their own money or go without. He brought together companies including OfficeMax, Jones New York and others to help get supplies into schools across the country.
Our anniversary experience was a great way for our firm to see first-hand how the charity works. But more importantly, it gave our team members a chance to help mentor students in literacy, math and science, and to educate students about what “public relations” means (something I am still trying to explain to my parents, “No, mom, it’s not advertising!”). After visiting these kids , I can’t share enough the importance of making a student smile or watching someone “get it” when they learn something new. When the thank you notes come in the shape of handmade cards, pictures and friendship bracelets, you know you have made a real difference.
Empowering our team members to donate their time and funds (with a corporate matching program), we found that internally our rewards were the smiles and stories that our team members brought back. Their commitment to continue to partner with their local classrooms in new ways is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of our employees – a spirit we share with Adopt-A-Classroom. Yes, we will donate a significant public relations and cause marketing support campaign to Adopt-A-Classroom, but their gift to us is just as significant.
To learn more about Adopt-A-Classroom and on how you can make a difference in your own community, visit adoptaclassroom.org. You won’t regret it.