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Seriously, Another Donation Request?
By: Sara Daly
Posted: December 4, 2013, from the December 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Editor’s note: Learn more great marketing tips from Sara Daly during the Advanced Education Conference Program at Face & Body® Midwest. Register today! www.FaceandBody.com/midwest/register
Skin care professionals may be asked hundreds of times a year to give away products and services to organizations.
Wellness-based providers are caring people by nature, and want to lend a hand when possible, but they are also business professionals and must make choices that reflect the spa’s brand identity and business mission. The donation issue is problematic because you have to decide:
- How to choose where to allocate your donation dollars; and
- How to ensure you get positive marketing and branding from the donation.
Following are three easy guidelines to make your choice easier.
1. Institute a yearly budget. Decide what amount is reasonable for you to donate in products and services. Place donation requests in a folder, then set aside time to choose organizations to receive your funding. Notify the rest that you have met your donation budget for the quarter and to try again next time.
2. Establish designated agencies to receive donations. Opt to give to school functions or wellness services, such as hospice and cancer awareness. This allows you to clarify your beliefs and explain that you donate to causes that are near to your business’s heart.
3. Set designated geographical areas. You may want to limit donations to your town or county only. A fundraiser 500 miles away is not likely to bring in new clients.
Get the most marketing
An important part of a donation request is being thanked and acknowledged publicly. Ask how your business will be showcased.
Ask about sponsorship levels. You want to participate in an event that has designated sponsorship levels—clearly defined added marketing values. For example, a theater company may present you with a silver sponsorship that includes a back page ad in the handbill, as well as mention in the newspaper.
Use a form to be consistent. Create a donation request form to keep at your front desk. Many will fail to complete the form, which will help weed out the organizations that are not committed to assisting the business in marketing efforts. Limit the dollar amount of each gift card donation and spell that out on your website to avoid the donation-seeker dictating the service.
Donation dos and don’ts
Do carry a $25 gift card in your wallet. If you are in a supermarket and overhear someone is having a rough day, you have the power to give a gift card on the spot. You will see great branding results with this tactic, and your team members will love the opportunity to offer the cards.
Do make exceptions to your guidelines. If you have a valuable client requesting a donation for an organization they are part of, make an exception to your guidelines. Regular clients are your ambassadors.
Don’t forget to use products for donations. Ask product suppliers for products for goody bags and pass them along. Be sure to use a logo sticker on your products to remind the recipient they were from your skin care facility.
Do keep track. Make a list of the donations you have made to use for tax purposes and budgeting.
Don’t set your guidelines without input. Ask your team members if they have organizations they feel strongly about, and be sure to include them in your guidelines.
Donations can be a valuable part of your marketing strategy when used in a way that promotes and identifies your brand, and makes you the wellness expert in your community. Erratic gifting creates the feeling of imbalance, because there is no framework for each decision to have a purpose. Ensure that your marketing dollars are being well spent, and you will reap the rewards of your generosity.
Sara Daly is president of Waterfalls Day Spa in Middlebury, VT, and founded the Vermont Wellness Professionals Network. She is a consultant to wellness practices on marketing, and writes and speaks extensively on wellness. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook.