Reframe Your PR Goodwill Efforts

In public relations, establishing goodwill is essential. Successful efforts to grow goodwill have the potential to boost your organization’s identity as a community partner or as a cause worth supporting. Meaningful goodwill efforts can build a community of brand advocates and loyal partners who’ll remember your efforts and advocate for you when you need it the most.

Unfortunately, a lot of organizations get it wrong. Many organizations believe the way to developing goodwill is through “freebies” or trivial gestures, but don’t start throwing your money or resources out the door just yet. Here’s how we think about goodwill efforts as we’re partnering with our clients.


Implementing goodwill efforts into your PR strategy shouldn’t mean giving freebies to everyone who comes knocking. It must be tactical, practical and strategic. Align with your audience, your business goals and your audience expectations. If you’re a hotel, it may mean giving away a getaway weekend on social media, but for a restaurant, it might mean catering an event for a local nonprofit. Just because something is a good cause doesn’t mean it’s right for your business or your audience.


If you care about your audience and work hard to show it, they’ll care about you too. Crafting your audience’s experience online and in-person is the quickest and most reliable way to earn their favor. No matter the organization, creating an experience people can’t stop talking about (in a good way) is always a reliable way to develop goodwill.

For example, one of our clients recently hosted a media dinner and provided each guest in attendance a four-course meal and gifts unique to the client’s business. Both the dinner and the gifts were relevant for the time of year, matched the client’s brand identity and were personalized for each guest. The high level of personalization and attention to detail had a strategy-first perspective. The client sought to raise awareness of an upcoming event and knew they needed valuable media support to do this. By inviting the media to personally experience part of the event first-hand during the media dinner, the client received not only great event coverage but, more importantly, built long-term relationships that excited both the client and media members.


Planned and sustained goodwill with the public can see your organization through difficult crises, so it makes sense to push your efforts as far as they can go. Catering your efforts to directly impact your audience in a bold way can push people from simply being fans to being true advocates. This might mean sending your employees out to serve the community in strategic ways, or by partnering with an influencer or blogger who has a direct impact on your target audience. Thinking outside the box and giving a little extra effort can go a long way.

You may not see the effects and the impact of your goodwill efforts in the moment, but when that time comes and you need the support, you’ll be thankful you made the effort and built up your foundation of advocates.