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"We looked at each other like, 'How are we going to pay for this?'" ...
Great work speaks for itself, but there’s more to generating impactful word of mouth than one customer talking to the next. Community involvement is a fantastic way to create buzz in bulk. If you plan ahead…
A little forward thinking about your philanthropic plan and execution can help you allocate funds and resources. It may also help you negotiate premium product placement at your event(s) of choice. Here are a few places to start searching for ways to get involved:
• City or township offices
• Community centers
• Humane Society
• Shelters, orphanages, local Red Cross
• Keyword search using township name and variations of charity/community, etc.
• Churches and festivals
Of course, if you’re up to the task, you might want to host your own event – a teen driving class and maintenance seminars are good places to start, and you may even consider blood drives and becoming a donation center (e.g., Toys for Tots).
PLAN IT OUT
Strategy matters because, within it, you’ll be able to assign timelines and distribute responsibilities for action items such as:
• Social media strategy and execution
• Pointed and useful handouts, coupons, giveaways (leave time for creation, ordering and delivery)
• Partnerships and cross-promotion
Remember, if you secure a place in an event early, you will probably be able to negotiate things like premium booth space and logo position on promotional materials. You’ll also be able to cherry-pick the items you want to sponsor according to your budget.
REAP THE REWARDS
Your community involvement will likely pay for itself many times over simply by generating name recognition and retention. There are other rewards, too. Studies indicate that employees are more productive when they are encouraged to support causes they care about. Your store will also naturally piggyback the cause’s attention in newspapers, media coverage and within social channels. Moreover, people close to the cause will remember your name and frequent your business.