Around the holidays we become more generous. We become conscious of opportunities to give back. It feels good when we do it. So why not give back year round?
While it feels good to give back to the community and is the right thing to do, there is nothing wrong with giving back in a way that helps your business. After all, it is the success of your business that enables you to support your community. Here are 12 excellent ways to support your community while also giving your business a bump.
- Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is not only a great charity — it’s an easy one to support as a plumbing contractor because you can provide specialized labor. If you are planning ahead, announce it to your customers and invite them to join you. Make sure you outfit people in company T-shirts and take pictures to use on your website and in social media.
You can also work with your local Habitat to provide labor during periods of light demand, when you do not want to send people home. Call the local Habitat director and find out if any labor it needed.
- Joseph Groh Foundation
If there is one charity that is specific to the service trades, it’s the Joseph Groh Foundation. The Joe Groh Foundation steps in when someone from the service trades has had a life altering event. You can help find opportunities for the Joe Groh Foundation in your community and step in to help organize other contractors to help. This may not be as promotional for your business as other opportunities, but it is directly supporting your profession.
- A pink truck campaign
Spread through the Service Nation Alliance, contractors across the country run pink truck campaigns where a portion of the profits from a pink wrapped service truck are donated to a specific charity. Often, this is the Susan G. Komen Foundation, but not always. The trucks draw attention and build goodwill around the community. Breast cancer survivors will occasionally stop trucks supporting Komen to get their picture taken by the vehicle.
- Take the company for a walk/run
Find a community 5K fun run that supports a local charity, pay for your team and their family members to participate, and outfit them with brightly colored company T-shirts for the event. Not only are you supporting a charity and calling attention to your business, you are helping to promote physical fitness within the company.
- Donate a tree
Some contractors, who want to emphasize an environmental tie in, sponsor the planting of a tree in a national forest. It can be tied to the purchase of a tankless water heater to help emphasize its reduced energy use and carbon footprint.
- Support team sports
Many small businesses sponsor sports teams. Go further and offer to buy a pop-up tent with your logo for any team with two or three families who have done business with your company over the past couple of years. If you have a service agreement program, you can tie it to participation by several families in the program.
- Join a service club
A small minority of plumbing contractors belong to Rotary, Lion’s, Kiwanis, Optimist, or another service/civic club. Not only are these clubs great ways to give back to the community through volunteer work, but they are powerful networking organizations. Clubs meet at breakfast and lunch every day of the week. If you are going to eat lunch anyway, why not eat with community centers of influence?
- Start a food drive
Offer discounts on repairs for food donations. Typically, contractors credit customers $1 for every can of food donated up to five or ten. The collected food is periodically taken to an area food bank, who helps promote your participation.
- Start a blanket drive
Similar to a food drive, conduct a winter blanket and coat drive. Give a discount on your service and present the blankets and coats to a local mission, which can ensure they are appropriately distributed.
Almost every community has an adopt-a-spot program. Typically, you pick up litter over a designated area one Saturday a month. With three or four people participating, it usually takes a half hour. For this, you get signage along the road announcing your participation. Be sure to wear company apparel when policing your area and select a high traffic street with a lower speed limit to increase your visibility.
- Donate a water heater
The easy one is to donate a water heater to an indigent homeowner identified by a public or private service. Budget for one a quarter and make sure you take pictures for your website and social media.
- Give away $20 to do good
Last year at our company Christmas party, I handed everyone who was present (including the caterer) a $20 bill with a card instructing them to use it to do good before the end of the year and to post it on the company Facebook page. The results were surprising and some of the stories were truly heartwarming. Contact the Service Roundtable Success Team at 877/262-3341 and they will email you a copy of the card.
Join the Service Roundtable before 12/31/15, mention this column from Contractor Magazine and we will donate your first month’s membership to the Joseph Groh Foundation. Just call 877/262-3341. Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable, contracting’s largest business alliance.