Why We Donate Digital Marketing Services to Small Non-profits

Chad Kearns Aug 7 2018

Service is one of the foundational values that Portent uses to guide our work and our mission. Our “Why” if you’re a Simon Sinek fan. More specifically, at Portent service means creating trust and value for our clients, our industry, and our community.

Every day, we work to provide best-in-class digital marketing services and consulting across a diverse group of clients. We love our clients – collaborating with them on a daily basis, working to understand their goals and challenges, and partnering to grow their businesses. It’s what gets us into the office every day.

But beyond doing great work that lets us keep the lights on, being of service to organizations that otherwise wouldn’t be able to pay for our work has evolved to become a meaningful part of our purpose at Portent.

On a regular basis, Portent selects a non-profit organization from around the Pacific Northwest to partner with, providing digital marketing services and access to our team for training and guidance that will serve them over the long-term.

That pro-bono work and these partnerships provide an opportunity to make a lasting, positive change to our community.

But providing pro-bono work as an agency definitely comes with costs. So why do it?

We Are Part of the Seattle Community

Working in Seattle, we are part of a vibrant, growing city that is also faced with many challenges and complicated socio-economic conflicts. We see that tension first-hand in Pioneer Square every day. As a member of the community, it’s important to us that we play a role in helping to improve the city and quality of life for our neighbors.

Sometimes that means donating hands-on labor to a great organization, whether it’s a food-bank or a shelter.

Volunteering at a food bank in Seattle with the Portent team

But in other cases, we work with organizations like Real Change and Skate Like a Girl to help them grow their work supporting under-served groups in our community.

We Help Get Results for a Good Cause

Beyond the good feeling that comes from any effort to support a great cause, providing results-oriented marketing support means our work drives tangible and meaningful growth for organizations well after our time together.

Over the last year, we’ve held focused training sessions for our partners and provided them with prescriptive, customized playbooks for successful digital marketing plans. We help them prioritize and organize the things that will have the most immediate and lasting impact on their growth, whether that’s website UX, SEO, social media advertising, or anything in between.

If our partners don’t have the time or resources to execute, we help them get the ball rolling whether that means running Google Grant campaigns, producing engaging and relevant content, or implementing our technical SEO recommendations on-site.

We Add Purpose to Our Own Work

We are passionate about what we do. And we recharge that passion in important ways when we get to leverage the skills and expertise across our agency for meaningful organizations that improve our community.

Participation in this kind of work is voluntary at Portent, and our team members continually volunteer and genuinely look forward to working on these projects. Often, these projects hit home with core motivations for our team- combining their professional technical skill sets, with a call to service that many of us share.

Simply put, it’s a great way to drive team engagement with the work.

We Love a Challenge

Non-profits are generally under-resourced, under-funded, and often stretched thin when it comes to marketing themselves. They’re rightly focused on their programming, which is exactly where they should be working. For all of those reasons, many of the non-profits we work with start with very limited knowledge of digital marketing techniques or best practices.

Working within organizational constraints is nothing new for any consultant, especially in digital. We love the opportunity to lead that change, to problem-solve how we can execute what needs to be done, and to teach our clients as we go.

“It was a really great process for us. Within a year, we got our website overhauled, figured out and relaunched. We still have a little bit of stuff to do, but I’m really, really proud of it.”

–Kristin Ebeling, Executive Director of Skate Like a Girl

Donating time, resources, and services to non-profits in our community has become a mainstay at Portent. Our people love it. They get genuinely excited to work with these organizations, and our non-profit partners benefit from services that would otherwise be out of their budget. I call that a win-win.