“Giving back” is the right thing to do. It feeds our sense of social justice and “helps to repair the world”. Even in down economic times, when we’ve only been able to give in-kind and not monetarily, it is easy to remain involved and active to help others in our communities who are most in-need (such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).
With the past few years being so tough, economically, we know lots of small business owners who’ve questioned whether they should continue on this path of giving. How can a business afford to continue to give even in-kind assistance when, for example, they struggle with the escalating price of raw materials, the need to meet employee salaries, on-going marketing/advertising needs when budgets are virtually non-existent; when the need to spend money on trade-show exhibits or attendance is important?
The answer is, without hesitation, is that it’s our inherent make-up as human beings to help those in-need and it’s just the right thing to do. And another answer is that, in the process, this continued involvement will definitely, most assuredly, open up avenues for networking, exposure and sales opportunities for your business. Really, it’s a win-win situation with long-term benefit.
There are many upsides to partnering/supporting one (or more) of the zillions of worthy non-profits. Instead of donating money, VOLUNTEER to design/print T-shirts or hats or signs for a fundraising event. This will give you extraordinary visibility, the non-profit will be immensely grateful and you will generate a mass marketing campaign for your company when the signs, t-shirts, hats, hoodies, jackets that you printed also include the name of your company. For example, “T-shirts designed/printed and donated by The Best Printing Company in the World”.
Think about the JDRF annual Walk for the Cure. Literally, thousands of walkers will view the t-shirt design you printed on the back of the shirt with your logo and name designating your company as the contributor. This, alone, will magnify one-on-one discussions about what your company does and why you became involved. The networking and card trading will ensue from there – all on a Saturday morning. And don’t forget to follow-up.
Additionally, when you contribute shirts, hats, signs, etc, 1) your company’s name will appear in all written pieces by the organization; 2) your company’s name will appear in e-newsletters thanking you as a contributor or sponsor depending on the level of commitment; 3) make sure that you send photo’s of the team and t-shirt/hat/sign images with a brief description of the event and your contribution to the editors of the business and community sections of all major local and regional papers. Smaller, neighborhood papers and other speciality publications welcome these types of news stories; 4) be prompt in sending the same information to trade publications and other on-line industry news sites (like this one) so that your company will gain optimal exposure; 5) make sure to post pictures with date/time/place/name of event and what you contributed on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, this INDUSTRY NEWS site and other social media your company uses.
In the end, your company will reap the benefits of this additional exposure both socially and economically from the new customers who will choose to send their business your way as a result of your company’s community service. Company employees will receive an opportunity to champion a great organization and cause as a result of their involvement. And it will be just plain fun. How can you lose? Best of luck.
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