How harnessing the power of a good story leads to charitable donations after the holiday season.

The days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are a time to celebrate with loved ones and enjoy the merriment that come with the holiday season. Nonprofits often directly benefit from the holiday spirit with a surge in charitable giving during this time.

About 40 percent of charitable giving throughout the year is done during the holiday season. Despite the increase in charitable giving during the holidays, the time period since the recovery from the Great Recession in 2012 has seen a decrease in the overall likelihood to give to charity by six percentage points when compared to the rate in 2000. This can possibly be due to the financial uncertainty caused by the recession and the fact that people do not feel that their donations actually make a positive impact.

As a public relations agency that has nonprofit clients, we not only have the pleasure of working with nonprofits during the dynamic holiday season, but throughout the rest of the year as well. One of our challenges is keeping the momentum of the holiday season going, while reaching more diverse demographics into each new year. In order to do this, most of our efforts go into harnessing the compelling power of a good story.

Knowing where, when and how to effectively highlight each client’s work is a challenge that public relations professionals on the agency side have to face. When working with nonprofits, however, some of the work is already done for you. With the nonprofit’s worthy mission already present, it’s not as much finding the story, it is more so strategically positioning the story in order for the organizations to gain the notoriety for their work.

There is no tried and true formula for public relations success – each nonprofit, and each client in general, has a different story to tell and requires a unique strategy in order to tell it effectively. There are some general best practices, such as focusing your story around the work of real people, that work particularly well with nonprofit clients. However, there are no formal guidelines set in stone for public relations professionals to follow.

It’s about finding that perfect mix of media relations, social media, advertising, direct marketing and event planning that makes public relations more like navigating uncharted territory than following a set of pre-established directions. Choosing the road less traveled and finding an innovative way to project your clients’ voices is definitely challenging, but seeing the benefit that your efforts produce makes it all worth it, especially when your clients are working to make the world a better place.