The waning of the year is when everyone thinks about charitable actions, yet to truly be a service company, giving back should be integral and continual part of the company culture, not just a seasonal event. Here are seven ways you can give back all year while also supporting your business.
As a contractor, you are part of a community. Actually, you are part of more than one community. One is the community where you work and live. Next, you are part of the local business community. You are also part of the community of contractors. This is your professional community. You should seek ways to give back to all of them.
No. 1 — Practice affinity marketing: While you should give back to the communities to support, you must also run a business. Only a profitable business can afford to be charitable. Never apologize for combining ways to build your business through community support. One of the best is affinity marketing where a charitable organization promotes your business to supporters and you make donations based on this support. For example, you might make a small donation to an HOA for every service call performed in the neighborhood. Or, you might donate to a museum when a patron uses your company and submits a coupon distributed by the museum.
No. 2 — Wrap a truck for charity: One of the most popular forms of affinity marketing is the pink truck. The first time I became aware of a pink truck was Stark Air under Ben Stark. One of Stark’s technicians came up with the idea of wrapping a truck identically to the other trucks, except in pink. A portion of the truck’s profits could then be given to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Stark had the ability to wrap his own trucks, so it wasn’t expensive to test the concept. When the charity bought into the idea, it caught fire. Everyone liked the idea of helping breast cancer research. Stark liked the attention it brought the company. The unmarried, single technician liked the opportunity to potentially meet single women.
Stark shared his idea with the Service Roundtable, noting that random women would ask if they could get their picture taken with the truck. Other contractors in the Roundtable picked up on the idea and pink trucks began popping up nationwide. Not all supported the same foundation. Some contractors found different levels of local receptivity among charities and picked the ones easiest to work with. Others pick a charity with personal meaning. After a friend took her life while suffering from postpartum depression, Ryan and Angie Snow adopted The Emily Effect for Western Heating and wrapped a truck accordingly, changing from pink to salmon, which is the Emily Effect’s color.
An excellent way to give back to the community of contractors is by mentoring other contractors.
No. 3 — Start a Boy Scout policy
Boy scouts try to do a good deed each day. By adopting this attitude and integrating it into your company culture, you will not only inevitably give back in unexpected ways, you will transform your company into one with a heart of service. I’ve heard amazing stories from contractors who have incorporated this attitude into their service. While waiting for a part on a DOA system, a technician noticed the yard badly needed mowing, so he finds the mower and cuts the grass. Service personnel have helped stranded motorists by giving them a jump, helping to change a tire, etc. There’s just as much power in giving back in small ways.
No. 4 — Heat the town: Many state and local trade associations sponsor community service programs around repairing for installing heating systems for indigent homeowners. Where an association is not in place or does not have an active program, contractors have created their own. They promote the program through local media and social media, accepting nominations.
No. 5 — Mentor other contractors: An excellent way to give back to the community of contractors is by mentoring other contractors. This could be a start-up contractor within your market who needs to learn the ropes or it could be contractors in other locations. National organizations like the Service Roundtable and Service Nation Alliance provide opportunities for contractors seeking mentors or seeking to mentor others.
No. 6 — Join a service club: Every contractor should give back to the local community and business community through a service or civics club. Not only do these organizations present volunteer and giving opportunities, but you are building relationships with community centers of influence that will lead to future referrals. Most clubs meet over breakfast and lunch once a week. Since you eat anyway, why not eat with community centers of influence.
No. 7 — Support the Joseph Groh Foundation: Within the service trades, there is no better charitable organization to support than the Joseph Groh Foundation. Joe Groh grew up in the trades and became a quadriplegic following a bicycle accident. He set up his foundation to help worthy people in the trades who have experienced a life altering accident. Learn more at JosephGrohFoundation.org.
Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable. For a FREE copy of the Comanche Marketing Guide to Affinity Marketing, call the Service Roundtable at 877/262-3341. Visit the ServiceRoundtable.com for more free downloads.