The good that you do shows who you are. If you want to establish a deeper connection with your community, then integrate charitable giving into your business through fundraising. This is called cause marketing, and it gives people another reason to patronize your eye care practice or optical shop.
Here’s the cause I support every year: AIDS Walk & Run San Diego. When my stepbrother contracted the AIDS virus back in the early 90’s, there were minimal services to help with the emotional burden, and medications were ruinously expensive. Those meds were also very hard on the body, and he passed away in 1993. Treatments have improved dramatically since then, but they are still costly – and HIV/AIDS education is always needed. So every year since 1995, I have raised funds and walked the AIDS Walk.
This year’s AIDS Walk is September 29th. I actually have to miss walking it, as I’ll be at Vision Expo West. But I’m still fundraising for it. (Want to donate?)
Find your cause
That’s my cause. What’s yours? If you’re not sure, here are some tips for finding a great charity to support:
- Choose a vision charity. This aligns with your profession! And it can be an opportunity to educate the public on eye diseases and how they occur. Not sure which one to choose? Here’s a list of 97 vision charities around the world.
- Go local. Remember, as a local business you’re trying to connect with your local community. You can choose a national charity with a local office, a regional organization that benefits your area directly, or even a local school or library. If your region has recently suffered a natural disaster, it’s best to funnel your help through well-established charities like the Red Cross or United Way.
- Avoid political causes. Of course, you personally can support any cause you believe in. But if you pair a cause with your business, and a significant portion of your community would not support that cause, you’ve given them reason to not patronize you – and you may even end up with protesters. Politics is always a hot-button issue. Instead, choose a cause that nearly anyone in your area can get behind.
Now share it!
- Pair fundraising with an event at your business. You could have a trunk show with a percentage of sales benefiting your charity. Or throw an evening cocktail party with silent auction, proceeds going to the cause.
- Take event advice from your charity. They throw a lot of events, and they know what works! They will even likely have some preferred vendors for sound, photography, food, and more.
- Share your cause well in advance of the event. People need time to notice and decide to throw in their support. Particularly if the fundraising event is anywhere near the winter holidays, plan for a 2- to 3-month publicity campaign. Don’t forget the marketing in cause marketing! And definitely use social media to share the event.
What cause do you support through your business, and how do you do it?
Need help with cause marketing? Contact us.
Peggy is the founder of The Social Eye, a social media agency for optical businesses. She led social media efforts at ZEISS Vision US for 4 years, and prior to that created digital marketing for the tech and music industries. She has far too many pairs of eyeglasses, but can always find room for one more.