Australian Newsagency Blog

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How to deal with community groups that ask for donations

Mark Fletcher
May 8th, 2017 · No Comments

Local businesses are being hounded by individuals and community groups to donate cash and products. It feels like the number of requests is up this year.

Often, the requests are from people you have never seen in your shop.

Requests from schools, charities and other community for donations can be a challenge for any size business. If you do not take a structured approach to this you will find yourself giving away plenty for little or no return.

Requests are often loaded with guilt.  People can be passive aggressive in their approach. Often, people requesting help leverage pester power. It can be hard to say no. There are too many stories of retailers giving a gift as a prize, receiving the Thank You poster and achieving no benefit for the business.

My advice is that you determine the amount you are prepared to donate in a year. This is best donated as a voucher for redemption in the business.

Next, publicly invite community groups to submit to be considered as part of your annual giving commitment. Ask them to submit what they would / cold do to support your business so that your business has the resources necessary to support they community.

HOW TO PICK GROUPS TO SUPPORT

Focus on community groups that support you. That is, groups with members who support you. The more they support you the better you are able to support the community.

Be prepared to ask where people shop for the items you sell in your business. Ask if they will change in return for your support.

Asking these questions underscores to you the importance of approaching the decision as a business decision.

Be thoughtful and deliberate. Support the groups that support you. This is important as it helps you stay within a budget.

REWARD ENGAGEMENT

In addition to any direct gift, consider an offer whereby anyone who is a member of the group who shops with you accrues an amount you donate to the group. You could manage this through your software. It could be you offer a discount to the shopper as well as accruing a value for the group.

This type of program could also be in addition to your core giving program as the value here is driven by sales – hopefully, incremental sales.

EDUCATE GROUPS ABOUT GOOD ENGAGEMENT

Here are things groups you support can do to help your business. You should ask them to do these things:

  1. Tell members to buy from you.
  2. Write about your business on their Facebook page.
  3. Distribute flyers of your offers.
  4. Have you speak at a meeting.

WRITE ABOUT YOUR ENGAGEMENT

Once you have a decision on which groups you will support, write about this in your newsletter and on Facebook. Not just once but multiple times. Invite them to provide you with content to publish too. Talk about their good works.

Ask them to write about you too.

Footnote: the advice in this post is part of the advice newsagency marketing group newsXpress provides its members. A more comprehensive form of this local community group giving advice was first shared with newsXpress members in 2015.

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Category: Newsagency management · Social responsibility

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