How to gain exposure for your business via community and charitable fundraisers…

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by Tom Watson on May 25, 2014

The idea of being a good citizen, one that gives back to the community doesn’t have to stop just because you own a business.

In fact, a case could be made that you now have a greater responsibility. You are taking a bigger role by owning a business, so your share increases!

Supporting Fundraisers & Charities Is Good Business

One of the ways you can participate in making your community a better place is to get involved supporting various fundraisers that are held throughout your area. Doing so is a win-win scenario for all parties. It helps you build a stronger business network and you help others in the process.

The benefits don’t stop there however as people – and other businesses for that matter – like to associate themselves with businesses that give back to the community or to charitable causes. This gives you the chance to reap the rewards of being the first to give, just don’t forget that getting business is secondary. Your motivation needs to be sincere!

Over the years we have supported many different types of fundraisers and charities. For instance we’ve been involved with many school fundraisers where the goal is to raise money for various after school activities. Then there has been charity golf outings and silent auctions for groups both large and small. Once you start looking for ways to give, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities to give back.

Gift Baskets And Donated Services Work Well

Generally our participation involves donating a combination of goods and services. This means we make up a gift basket, include a redeemable gift certificate for the winner and we donate our services to cap it off. This makes for an attractive contribution!

While we perform a lot of different services as a company, we generally donate carpet cleaning services. The amount varies depending on circumstances but it’s generally $100.00 to $200.00 worth of free carpet cleaning. So the total value given is roughly the price of the free services plus the gift basket cost.

We like to come across “First Class” so we don’t skimp when we contribute. This means our gift baskets start at about $30.00 to $50.00 at a minimum. Our offering is geared towards the female market as they tend to be the decision maker for carpet cleaning services. This means that our gift baskets are generally something we buy at Bath & Body Works®.

How Your Charitable Donation Is Redeemed

I don’t know how others go about the process, but when we make up our gift basket package we include a gift certificate inside the gift basket. This allows the winner – if it was a raffle or the highest bidder if it was a silent auction – to have something they can refer to when calling us to redeem the voucher for free service.

We also include a description of the services they will receive. This way there is total clarity as to what exactly they can expect when they call us. We want everyone to be on the same page, so we try to be as clear as possible. We generally put a one year redemption period on the gift certificate, as that is enough time for the winner to pick a time.

The goal for you is to provide world-class service to whomever the winner is. Doing so may just win you a regular customer, not to mention one that may refer you to their friends and family. Sending out a thank you card after performing the service is also a nice touch that can help cement your company as first class.

On a side note, many of the winners may never redeem their voucher. In my experience, it’s less than 50%. I don’t know the reason for this, but I suspect that many want to support whatever the cause is by buying something, and they tend to pick something they can bid on that will cost them less than a hundred bucks or so. They don’t need the service, they just want to participate.

What The Gift Basket Package Looks Like

You imagination is the only thing that can limit what you decide to do. The pictures below shows you how we put the package together. Like I mentioned earlier, we use carpet cleaning as our add-on to the gift basket, but some type of “FREE House Cleaning Package” would probably go over BIG with participants too. If you only perform commercial cleaning then just the gift basket would be enough in my opinion.

Here is the what the total package looks like…

Fundraiser 3

Here is a close-up of the gift certificate we stuffed inside… 

Fundraiser 2This last shot is of the package description… 

Fundraiser 1

I’ll make mention that the gift basket is not necessarily required but we like to include it as a bonus. That’s because I’m not sure just a piece of paper describing some carpet cleaning would be all that tempting to the average fundraising participant. Not to mention that, depending on the venue, you will be mixed in with dozens and dozens of other items. You want to STAND OUT!

Money-wise the cost breakdown went like this… $38.00 for the gift basket, $6.00 for the stand we placed the package details page in and we offered $190.00 in free carpet cleaning. The carpet cleaning will only really cost us our time (or employee labor if we have them perform the work). The carpet cleaning solutions come in at well less than $10.00. All in all, a small price to pay to give back!

Well.. there you have it! Another idea to help you grow your business EXCEPT that this one helps you give back to the community that supports you. For those that have given back in this manner, I would love to hear how you approached the process of donating your goods or services to a cause that you support.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sekita May 25, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Awesome post. I have been thinking about doing this for sometime now, especially with schools for their Teacher of the yeat awards. Thanks for the tips.

2 Tom Watson May 25, 2014 at 5:09 pm

THANKS Sekita! Good luck.

3 ruthie galles May 25, 2014 at 6:40 pm

this is ruthie thx for all that you write here for me to read I really need the support on this ive wanted to start my own cleaning business and for like a long time haven’t had the information nor got motivatied eough to do it on my own so thx tom

4 Tom Watson May 25, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Hi Ruthie! You are VERY welcome.

5 Harry May 27, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Tom – Really loved this post. For small business owners it is very important to stay in touch with community you operate in and give back. This is how they can build close relationship with the customers and fight against the large retailers that can offer lower price. While customers do like low price they will go to those businesses that give back to their community.

6 Tom Watson May 27, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Hi Harry! Thanks for commenting.

7 Sushan@ Carpet Cleaning June 26, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Wow really nice post Tom Watson!! I have been found it that supporting fudraisers and charities is good business because it helps to build a stronger business network and help others in the process. Thanks for sharing.

8 Tom Watson June 27, 2014 at 11:29 am

Hi Sushan! THANKS… and YES, it really “positions” your company in a positive light, PLUS it’s just the right thing to do.

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