Giving Back, Giving Big
Quick lube shops, especially locally owned ones, are staples in their communities. Few industries have the opportunity that quick lube does to serve such a large portion of their neighbors on a daily basis.
Because of that position, shops also have a unique opportunity to give back to other organizations in those communities.
For the last three months of 2021, Eric Galindo’s Oil Change Express chain ran a fundraiser at all 12 of its locations in San Antonio, Houston and Dallas for the local children’s hospital network.
The decision to support the children’s hospital network with a fundraiser was a personal one for Galindo. His middle son, Easton, developed a brain tumor as a small child, but Christus Santa Rosa Health System—which is in the network Oil Change Express supported—took care of Galindo’s son and his entire family.
“Thank God they were able to extract that, and he’s perfect now. You’d never know he had surgery,” Galindo says. “I’ve been there, I’ve seen it, I’ve experienced it, I know what they do for the children, I know how they help the families. It’s just very important to me.”
Based on Galindo’s experience this winter, how can a shop run an effective fundraiser that is both beneficial to the shop and to the organization it is trying to support?
Galindo says the challenge of a good fundraiser doesn’t lie in the decision to start one—or at least it shouldn’t.
“I had a conversation with my operators and my admin side of the business, and everyone wanted to work with the children’s hospital network,” he says. “This is just very important throughout San Antonio, too—the hospital supports a lot of children.”
The real hurdle comes in finding a balance between a cause that your shop is passionate about and one that it can make a tangible contribution to.
Make it a team effort.
Though Galindo is passionate about helping the children’s hospital, he says it wasn’t an executive decision to run a fundraiser for the local health system.
Getting to know what your team is personally invested in can help decide which organization or organizations you support, and it can help your team become significantly more engaged with the effort.
“Get with your operators, get with your managers and see where everyone’s heart’s at. What are people passionate about? Is it children, is it the food bank? There are a lot of agencies to work with and different programs to work with,” Galindo says. “Find out what people are passionate about, how you can make a great impact so that everyone has buy-in.”
Don’t do it alone.
Oftentimes, the act of donating to a charity becomes more important than the donation itself. When that happens, it’s all too easy for a fundraiser or other drive to lose momentum quickly and become ineffective.
Donations don’t have to be a surprise, and in many ways it’s more effective to work directly with the agency or organization to whom you plan on sending the proceeds from an event.
Oil Change Express worked directly with a representative from the children’s hospital to square away logistics and make sure the three-month-long fundraiser went off without a hitch.
“We worked with a representative from the children’s hospital network,” Galindo says. “We discussed the plan, the goal and the execution.”
The hospital also provided some materials for each Oil Change Express location to give out to customers with each donation made and provided assistance to the shops throughout the process.
Go all in.
In addition to the help from the hospital, Oil Change Express also made its own materials, hanging banners in each shop and handing out fliers to customers to explain the fundraiser.
Galindo says each shop also made sure every single member of its team was brought up to speed on the fundraiser and some of the specifics so that they could bring it up to every customer who came through the door.
Keeping the objective simple and the promotion itself straightforward, Galindo says, is the best way to make sure your shop does the most good for whichever organization it’s helping as possible.
“Our goal was to raise as much money as we could,” he says, “and then we cut a check to the children’s hospital.”
Galindo visits all 12 of his shops on a fairly regular basis, and he says the passion that he has for this particularly personal fundraiser has permeated throughout each of his teams.
“They’re definitely engaged. I’m in shops every single day, and I hear all of my team talk about it with customers when they come in and explain why we’re doing it,” he says. “They’re doing a great job with it, and you can tell they’re passionate about it.”
And that passion is translating to increased community engagement and customer appreciation.
“They love it. San Antonio has a local feel, and one of the things we’re proud of is that we’re the last local oil change chain in San Antonio. They love that we’re a local chain trying to help the local hospital and our local community.”
Good fundraisers start with the people running them. Being personally invested and passionate about a project or a certain cause makes it much easier to invest the necessary time and resources into a fundraiser.
Though Galindo says he hopes no one has to get as close to a cause as his family did, his experience made running a fundraiser, such as the one Oil Change Express just concluded, a no-brainer.
“I wish that nobody ever has to go through that, but it’s really important to believe in the cause and to share that passion with your team,” he says. “The guys just want to do it. Just make a phone call and see how you can make the greatest impact you can.”
Talking with your team to find a cause they’re passionate about, working directly with the agency or organization you plan to support and investing sufficient time and energy into a straightforward goal will give your shop the best chance of energizing customers to participate and make the biggest impact possible.
And making that impact, at the end of the day, is what Galindo says is the most important part.
“It means a lot to everyone in the company, but it really means a lot to me. I see the hospital every day on my way to work, and it brings back memories every time,” he says. “This is important to all of us, and we want to help the children. This is a good way to do that.”