By Tracey Mendrek, Senior Consultant


Driving home during the first snow event of 2012, I pondered two forecasts. Top of mind was the prediction of 2 to 4 inches of snow on one station, 6 to 8 inches on another, and of course, more than 12 inches from the weather forecaster who went to the caffeine well once too often. The second forecast came from the economic panel at the Executives’ Club of Chicago luncheon, which predicted more of the same through 2012. The job numbers remain stagnant, the housing market doesn’t come back just yet, the euro continues to struggle, and the partisan politics of the day hold fast.

These less-than-stellar predictions reminded me again to revisit my charitable giving, volunteering and advocating on behalf of the wonderful organizations that do great things for great people. We all have our favorites, and if we don’t, we should. The 2008 economic downturn crashed hardest on the charities and foundations that depend on donations to keep the doors open, the lights on, the food coming or the recreational activity available. I know this because in my public relations life, I have experienced firsthand the highs and lows of corporate and individual giving. Great highs when that $50,000 auction item doubles into $100,000. Great lows when the monoski can’t be repaired and the Iraq war veteran can’t feel the fresh powder on the hill today.

As public relations specialists, we have great responsibilities to our clients. We help them make the right decisions every day, every minute. We also have the opportunity to introduce them to the idea of charitable giving. So, consider this for one moment. When your client makes their forecast for 2012, encourage them to get to know a cause, a movement or a person. With predictions of more of the same in the near term, it is essential that we all reconsider our commitment to those great people who woke up to a less-than-favorable forecast.