A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Local school parent groups and charities need to change their approach to asking small business retailers for donations

Local small business retailers are asked several times week by school parent groups and other local community groups and charities for donations. Here is one example I saw yesterday. I share it as it demonstrates what not to do. It’s lazy, ignorant and disrespectful. It’s one-way. While I’m sure they think acknowledging the business on advertising has value, it does not.

If I was speaking with this school parent group I’d tell them the one thing they could do to get engagement from local retailers:

Shop with them.

Yes, it’s that simple.

Now, this could work a couple of ways. Getting parents to shop with local retailers could be leveraged to get local retailers to donate to the parents group. Better still,  local retailers could set up a mutual loyalty program in their POS software. each purchase could reward the parents and the parent’s group. It’s easy to track this, to trade with local retailers to build a bank that is donated to the parent’s group.

Local retail businesses are only able to donate to community groups if they have the financial capacity. The only way they achieve that is when people;e spend money in their shops. This is why the starting point for any charity or community group putting their hand out to any business is to ask: What are we doing for them? What are we doing to enable them to donate to us? If the answer is nothing, then fix that first.

Big businesses say yes to donations as they budget for it and because they see it as easy marketing. They have a corporate umbrella cover bring them. A family owned local retail business is stand-alone. It relies on day to day trade. This is why any donation needs to be considered transactionally.

Local small business retailers could be on the front foot about this. They could setup a mutual loyalty program so it’s all set and ready to go, so next time a charity or community group puts out their hand they, instead, pitch the loyalty program that, if engaged with, could be more financially rewarding for the community group or charity.

Now, there may be some in the community groups or charities who say it’s too complex or challenge why they have to shop in a shop to get it to donate. If you hear that, it shows ignorance, and it demonstrates how little they actually value you.

I’d written about this topic before. It is frustrating seeing the ignorance displayed by some groups when they ask for donations. Their approach, like the example above, demonstrates a lack of understanding about how business works.

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Social responsibility

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