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Self-promotion for People Who Hate Self Promotion (and 4 Ways To Authentically Share About Your Charitable Giving)

My step-dad Dennis, is one of the most incredible people on the planet. He’s a 6 foot 4 inch cowboy who taught me everything I know about Merle Haggard, how to punch holes in leather, and the proper way to make gravy over an open fire.

When I was a kid and Dennis moved in with us, one of the things we all combined were our CDs and music do CDs even exist anymore?!). Den and I both love music, so this was fun because he also brought this fancy 8-disc CD player thing that I thought was so cool.

One of the CDs I found as we were putting things away was, “Opera for People Who Hate Opera”. I’ll never forget that CD. It’s totally real deal Opera (I think – I can’t fully remember), but Den and I laughed about it for days.

I thought it was so genius, that CD. It made me want to listen – although I am totally someone who likes Opera anyways.

I think sometimes we feel this way about giving to charity. As though it is too self-promoting to talk about, because it’s meant to be selfless. We don’t want to talk about it because it seems un-good if we do.  It feels like because we aren’t being totally selflessness that it’s somehow not authentic and genuine. I think it's the opposite actually - how selfish to keep the good stuff all to yourself! 

Not sure if you got the memo, but authentic and genuine are EVERYTHING these days. If this generation of people were to be collectively tattooed, I’m pretty sure it would say, “Give me authenticity or death” in Latin. 

So, we hire PR firms and say yes to interviews - so we can have someone else tell our story.

We are stunting our growth when it comes to this concept, because we are keeping people at arm’s length. Especially with our charitable giving. I struggle with this too – I don’t want people to think I craft sneaky public relations plots all day by exploiting non-profits to increase sales and dupe people into buying things. Oh yes, I get challenged on that often, and yes it hurts my feelings.

I’m trying to help you feel empowered and active. You have a heart that wants to give, you have a platform (your customers and clients and followers), and if we can focus that energy we can make a bigger impact. We can get MORE people to be aware of needs, we can inspire others to also look into what makes them feel joyful in helping.

There is a graceful way to do these things, and to make it work without compromising your reputation.

I know you feel like holding back is safer. I know you feel overwhelmed by your wanting to give and not knowing how. I know there is a side too though where you can see the happiness spreading and the clients smiling – it’s under there, I know it!

To help you get started, here are three ways to authentically share about your social impact work: 

1.     Share about something else, and mention how you folded in your “do good”

Getting people involved in your social mission shouldn’t be your number one priority (if it IS, then you should consider starting a non profit). If you love what you currently do and your business, but want to give too, I recommend you softly invite people in to what you feel passionate about. Softly.

One of my favorite solopreneurs who does this well is Val Woerner of Val Marie Paper. She makes beautiful journals and paper goods and gives $0.50 of each product sold to a charity she believes in each month. She rarely talks about it, but makes it known on her site and in some of her social media posts (below is an Instagram example), when it fits and when she really wants to share her heart.  

In this example, I show you that her note on Instagram only mentions her give back once you scroll to the bottom of her commentary - the three photos are one post, but show the full comment as it unfolds. Her giving is not the focus of the post, but merely a soft share. 

2.     Explain your “why”

This is actually a tip for life – if you are noticing a lot of people talking about how important your “why” is, and want to know more, watch this Simon Sinek TED Talk. It’s revolutionary.

There should be a “why” for your give-back. There should be a reason you're giving back, and the more common sense it makes, the better.  Some of our favorite restaurants give food because they have extra food to share, and they feel it’s the right thing to do. That is a great way to align what your business does with how it helps. You are going the extra mile to do what's right. Now, that is something to believe in. 

*Note to restaurant owners, you get an extra tax deduction for donating food! YES. 

 3.     The rule of thirds

This is actually a photography & art concept. I use it for marketing because I’m cool like that. Shout out to my art teacher of eight years, Pat Menacucci! She was so rad. She had huge St. Bernard dogs, an epic garden, and taught all of us about classical music and choosing your tea based on your artistic mood. Love her/ am I turning into her? Possibly.

The rule of thirds as it relates to cause marketing:

  • One third of your message is about your business/ your product/ what makes you money.
  • One third of your message is about your brand
  • One third of your message is about how you give & do good
See how the bottom third adds in some give-back? Yep, that's right. 

See how the bottom third adds in some give-back? Yep, that's right. 

This allows your customer to focus on the full picture of who you are and what you do. You don’t need to talk about any one thing – that’s boring. And your business is more dynamic than that, right? Right.


 “Sharing is caring” was not some Hallmark concept developed to get Care Bears to fly off the shelves, it’s real. Some entrepreneurs and businesses hold back from talking about the give back work they do, and I truly think it’s a disservice. Your customers want to know what you stand for, and how they too can make a difference just by being a purchaser.

Do you give back, but don't really share about it? Or do you feel like maybe your message isn't that strong? We may be able to help - click below and get a free guide!