My daughter is a member of her high school dance team, the award winning Langham Creek Bailadoras (www.bailadoras.com
). Last week for the second straight year, I participated in something called Donation Quest. My job was to chaperone and drive five girls to various local businesses. The girls asked these businesses for donations to be used at their annual Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction.
As I drove from business to business, I started to think about how important it is for these local businesses to participate in the various fundraising activities that inevitably present themselves each year. After all, the communities where these businesses reside support them with their wallet and are an important source of sales../p>
We visited restaurants, watch shops, electronics stores, custom frame shops, beauty parlors, yogurt shops and car garages just to name a few. Most were locally owned with a few national chains sprinkled in the mix.
The responses to the girl’s requests were varied. There were a few “We were wondering when we were going to see you this year, let’s see what we can do for you” or “We really like participating in these local events, here is a gift certificate for you to use”. Our team always felt positive about our interaction with those businesses. You got the feeling that they conduct business like this every day.
Some of the local businesses and all of the national chains said they needed to talk to their home office. How weak is that…it’s just an easy way for them to not participate? Only a few businesses actually said no!
So, if you are a local business supported by your local community, my advice is to put community participation into your yearly marketing plan. It doesn’t have to be expensive and you can be creative in your ideas. Working with your local community brings a wide range of benefits that really have to do with creating good will for your company.
So, the next time a group of girls from the high school dance team comes into your place of business with an opportunity for you to highlight what you do, be prepared to help them out!