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Pay It Forward

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When you go to your local drive thru, you will see them from time to time.  The same goes for the grocery store and sometimes your favorite drinking establishment. You see offers to donate to one cause or the other. If you are part of a franchise, odds are that you already get hammered once a year into giving back to a national charity. Those are all great opportunities that can get you some positive feedback. However, today I will discuss ways that you can give back and get a bigger bang for your buck in your localized community.

The most obvious choices are the big national charities that research a disease or reach out to groups in need. But if you take the time to look a little more local, you may find a nonprofit doing good around your area that can be more beneficial from a word-of-mouth standpoint than anything you have done before. 

Now I am not knocking the big national campaigns but pointing out to you, the operator, to look at what you are getting back in return. Many local charities have a following among your current and prospective customer base. When you decide to give to them or to run a fundraiser of your own, they tend to get involved with you in promotion of the opportunity. This gives you double the local advertising and can get you a little kick in the business with the combined efforts. I tend to prefer to do this type of marketing. In small, tight-knit communities it is always a good idea. You will be amazed at how many other spots will share the opportunity for that charity and your business.


Be a Booster


Another straightforward way to build community rapport is to get involved with their local sports teams. How often are you approached by a company or a high school to sponsor their athletics? How many of you actually did?

We can all say that these donations are good tax write-offs for the business, so there is not a monetary drawback to dropping a couple hundred dollars to get your logo, name, address, phone number or more on a billboard at the facility. Think about how hundreds of eyeballs see that business logo at every game or match—not just from your sponsored school, but the other school.  Many of these options are easily attainable on your own, just by reaching out. Don’t have a local high school near your locations? Do you have county recreation departments? If so, reach out and buy some uniforms for a local youth team. A little bit can go a long way!

If you happen to be in a city with a major education facility that plays collegiate sports, get in on that! These may be a little higher in cost but think about your coverage. How many people listen to the coach’s pre-game show with the announcement that it’s sponsored by a local business? I do each week! 

I am out of the market from my alma mater, the University of South Carolina, but I have options on their phone app and online local radio station. There are people that have never frequented your establishment who will do so just because you support their team. It’s the NASCAR sponsorship mentality. If you are a fan, like me, you know I am right! If I want an energy drink, it is a Monster, because they sponsor one of my favorite drivers, Kurt Busch. How many Chase Elliott fans shop at NAPA because they sponsor his No. 9 car? I personally have tried local restaurants when I was in Columbia, S.C., just because I heard their ad on the pregame Gamecocks football or basketball show. It's an opportunity that will pay for itself easily, even if it is a bigger investment. These funds go to fund scholarships for student athletes and trainers, improving their lives and future opportunities that some may have had no other opportunity to get if they were not gifted athletes or scholars.

To conclude this month, I challenge you to look beyond the norm. Reach out to that local high school or rec league. Make a call to a university and see how you can advertise or even give out a discount card to incoming students. Don’t always go with what the masses are doing because it's easy. Take the road a little closer to home and reap the benefits of keeping your money—locally!


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