Your community has supported you from the beginning. They’re your customers, they refer your business through word of mouth, and they want to see you succeed. So what have you done for them lately? Your community is more than just the people spending money with you, so show them how much you appreciate them by giving back. Just like marketing your business, the best way for you to give back has a lot to do with how much time and money you have, and finding the solution that fits your situation best.
When looking to give back to your community, your very first move should be to reach out to the local non-profit organizations in your area. These organizations know how to make your donations of food and clothing get to right people, and can make a cash donation go even further. These are the pros, so it’s best to defer to them rather than trying to put something together all on your own.
Before deciding on a non-profit to work with, do some research. Ask for recommendations from other business owners you know, find one serving a cause you believe in, search online for any press they’ve gotten recently. Once you have some candidates, you might even want to try calling them and asking about their operating costs. Organizations with lower operating costs stay lean and mean to help funnel more donations to where they’re needed.
When it comes to putting together a donation for the non-profit of choice, consider organizing a food or clothing drive. This is a great way to magnify your own contribution by getting customers and the rest of the community involved. Something as simple as placing a donation bin in your store is a great start and can fill up quickly. You can even put out a collection jar for cash donations.
If you’re feeling more ambitious, gather some volunteers for the weekend and try going door to door collecting food and/or clothing. For the best results, you could even do a mailing ahead of time so that people can have their donations ready when you stop by.
The non-profit you choose to work with will more than likely have several fund-raising events coming up in the near future, and a great way to help out is by either hosting or sponsoring one of them. Events can be very expensive to put on, and helping out with the cost keeps more money free for the organization’s work.
In exchange, like any sponsorship, your business gets a mention at the event and probably some press as well. Add to that the goodwill of the community and you have the makings of some very good marketing.
Sustainers are people and businesses who make a scheduled monthly donation. Large, one-off donations are great and certainly help a lot, but sustainers provide revenue that a non-profit can count on each month, all year long. This doesn’t have to be so big it hurts each month, so even something like $50-$100 can make a difference. If these donations are coming out of your revenues rather than a collection jar, they should even be tax-deductible.
Giving back to the community you serve is both good for your soul and good for your business. Your community supports you and deserves the same from your business in return. By showing your community you care through the charitable causes you support, you build customer loyalty and goodwill. A community that loves its local businesses is one that makes sure they stay around for long, long time.