For a Good Cause
Be a good neighbor and reach the right people with charity marketing
You can spend years diligently building your brand through newspaper
ads and radio spots without attracting the big spenders in your market.
Try getting more involved in your community. Some jewelers find supporting
charity events is an effective way to network, build trust and earn recognition
as well as give something back to their communities.
"It has exposed us to customers who never knew us," says John
Sullivan, general manager of Alson Jewelers in Cleveland, OH. Charity events
such as the Northeast Ohio Race for the Cure, which Alson sponsors, bring
together the community's movers and shakers, who often are dedicated charity
volunteers. Some jewelers say they even make surprisingly big sales related
to their participation in the events.
You probably receive requests for donations from so many charities your
head starts to spin. How do you choose which one to support? "You want
to pick something that touches you and your employees personally,"
says Sullivan. "If you don't have that yourself, ask your clients."
Alson found several of its clients had been treated for or lost loved ones
to breast cancer. In 1997 the store began to support the local running of
the Race for the Cure that benefits the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast
Others pay close attention to how organizations spend the money they
raise. Russell Korman, owner of Russell Korman Jewelry in Austin, TX, wanted
the maximum benefit from his donation, so he did thorough research on charities.
He found the Junior League of Austin puts in tens of thousands of volunteer
hours and closely monitors the donations it gives to local health, education
and arts organizations. "They are good stewards of their money, and
it takes the burden off me to have to donate directly to many different
charities," he says.
Don't Just Stand There!
If you've decided to use your marketing budget to support a charity, get
involved in planning and promoting the event to make the donation worth
your while. Here are some ideas:
- Donate merchandise. Korman donates a big-ticket
jewelry item (last year it was a pair of 4.01-ct. diamond earrings) for
a $25 raffle and a piece of lower-priced jewelry for a $5 raffle at the
Junior League's annual "A Christmas Affair" in November. In 1998
the two raffles raised $27,000.
- Sell related merchandise. Have your in-store
designer or a vendor make jewelry or a gift to support the cause. Alson
sells $45 crystal Hoya brand hearts embedded with the pink ribbon that
designates breast cancer research; all proceed go to the Komen Foundation.
Other ideas include gold AIDS ribbons or gold book pins for library benefits.
- Help with ancillary events. Most charities
have parties for volunteers or picnics for participants. Sponsor one. Alson
holds the cocktail party honoring other Race for the Cure sponsors (many
of whom are executives of major northeastern Ohio companies) at its store
on the eve of the race.
- Take advantage of publicity. Find out
in advance how the organization will promote your sponsorship. It can be
beneficial just to have your store name listed with other sponsors, which
often are well-known companies. On the elite invitation announcing the
opening party for a recent "A Christmas Affair," Russell Korman
was one of five sponsors listed the others were Dell, American Airlines,
Southwest Airlines and a prestigious local law firm.
- Involve Employees. It's a great way to
build your team while demonstrating your support goes beyond financial
matters, says Sullivan. Alson Jewelers organizes more than 30 employees,
all wearing store shirts advertising the Hoya hearts, to participate in
the Race for the Cure.
by Stacey King
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.