Open Your Doors to the Community

It’s doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that to be successful, a small business needs to serve the needs of its customers. But what if you could go one step further? What if you could also help those customers serve others in the community? A recent Mintel study reports that 72 percent of consumers said that they would like to volunteer or give more to a charity. So a business that helps them do that is likely to get their attention. Here are ways that your small business can help your customers help others in the community.

It’s natural for people to want to help. But with hectic work schedules and family obligations, that can be difficult for some customers. Businesses can help by making it easier for customers to contribute their time or money toward a worthy cause.

Take a look at these ideas from other business that are helping customers realize their goal of serving the community:

  • Pay-It-Forward – This one works well if you serve food items to customers through a drive-up window. Ask the customers if they want to pay a portion of the bill for the next person in line. If they agree, you donate a dollar to a designated charity. When the next person in line comes up to the window, let them know all/part of their bill is paid and ask if they want to “pay-it-forward” for the next customer. The idea is to get a chain of these going. A St. Petersburg Starbucks recently had a chain of 260.
  • Community Sale – Offer coupons for a percentage off your products or services. When the coupon is redeemed, donate half of the discount to a charity. Encourage them to share their donation by posting on your business’ Facebook page.
  • Meaningful Exercise – One store specializing in running gear had customers commit to delivering a newspaper to an elderly person while on their running route. Some customers found themselves staying for a while and visiting with the senior.
  • Round Up – Ask your customers to round up their purchases to the next dollar. Then donate that amount to a local charity. Consider matching the donation for purchases over a certain amount.
  • Buy One More – Encourage customers to buy two of an item and donate the second one to a designated charity. Have a collection bin in your store where customers can place their item. That lets them see that their donation is part of a storewide effort to help the organization.

A good small business serves the needs of their customers. But a really great business goes one step further. They stand out by helping their customers serve the needs of the community.

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