By guest author Ruby Weber
Those of us whose career is the gift or gift basket business generally enjoy giving gifts and take great pleasure in assisting a customer as they search for that perfect gift for that hard to buy for individual. With that said…it is in our very nature to want to give.
It is difficult to remember a time when there has been a greater need for charity, random acts of kindness and simple words of encouragement than today. The type of businesses we operate… GIFT… many times translates to… GIVE… that really means… DONATION! Remember each of us likes to, and wants to give to every cause.
To date, this year we are averaging ten donation requests a week in one form or another, phone solicitation, fax and stopping by in person. ALL of them excellent, worthy causes, ALL of them in dire need… so if you are wondering how another small but community friendly retailer juggles these requests here are a few of the ways we are giving that allows us to not feel too badly that we cannot give more.
When you receive a request… try to listen graciously to the individual who has the very difficult task of raising funds. We have adopted the keep it local approach to donating this year and explain that to any caller who is raising funds for a reputable charity but not one that directly supports a need in our trading area.
We nearly always support a request from one of our regular customers. They work hard to bring us their business and introduce their friends and colleagues to our store. When they thank us for our support we laughingly say, “OK, that means you owe us a new customer.” They leave laughing and happy… and they always spread the word!
If you find that no one ever comes in when you have donated a Silent Auction Gift Basket… consider including a store gift certificate.
Recently we participated in an educational fundraiser… rather than donate actual product we donated the “finished” gift bags. With donated items from other businesses we assembled 150 goody bags using the Kaleidoscope junior bag, three different color sheets of tissue and topped each one off with a five color matte wrapphia bow. This took us less than two hours of our time, cost was minimal and we received the bulk of the kudos!
As basketeers we are skilled labor. Many of our requests are for our assistance in creating a work of art from a group of odds and ends that have been collected. By donating design time and basket making supplies you are able to say yes and hold the out of pocket costs to a minimum. Always print up a sign stating “Designed by…”
List the local causes you support on your website… ask the groups to provide a picture of the winner and permission to post the picture.
Product, design time and cash are NOT the only items that your business could donate. Allow your employees to volunteer to help a cause during working hours and pay them their regular hourly wage. If you have space or an attractive area in your shop where the charity could hold an event or some of their planning sessions why not offer that as your contribution? This is one of the best ways to bring in new business for your store… so this is a big win for everyone. Many times the local media would be interested and do a little story on your community involvement.
It is important to remember that your hard work both in your business and within your community is one form of giving. Your employees, family, community and vendors rely on your efforts to sustain them.
The author Ruby Weber is a customer of Nashville Wraps and is our featured guest author. If you have a subject to share with others, please feel free to contact us at [email protected] Not all subjects can be published, but we will read and consider every submission. R Meadows, Nashville Wraps