I'm a firm believer that local businesses shape our communities. They create job opportunities, drive tourism spending with unique offerings, and more of the money that's spent with a local business stays in the community.
All of those things are just a natural part of the way a local business operates. And independent pharmacies know that the benefits to communities and patients don't stop there.
But do your customers know how much you do for your community? And do you involve them in your efforts to give back?
These are important questions, especially as the season for giving approaches. The upcoming holiday season means that retailers big and small will be ramping up efforts to engage customers in charity fundraising.
In recent years, the trend of "checkout charity" has become a major force in the world of charitable giving, allowing customers to partner with retailers on giving campaigns. As this article shares, there are some pretty big, and still growing numbers, resulting from checkout charity.
While many pharmacies already engage in charitable giving through their businesses, checkout charity may be new to your pharmacy. Here are a few tips for getting your own program started.
1) Pick charities that will connect you with your community, and speak to your values- When customers shop local, it isn't always about convenience and proximity. It's about trust, and the feelings of connection and community mindedness that shopping local brings.There's nothing wrong with donating to organizations with nationwide reach, but they may not speak to your customers as much as a local organization will. And when those local organizations share your contributions with their members, it will have a much greater impact on your business.
2) Partner with the organizations you contribute to - Take the time to work with organizations you choose to support through your business. Understand what they do, how donations are used, and what their goals are. As with any business relationship, a true partnership with open communication and shared goals will help both organizations to thrive.
3) Set a time frame and a goal for your donation drive - Many businesses will work with more than one organization, and will have limited timelines for donations made through checkout charity. Maybe you're fundraising for the local school to take a trip, or raising funds for a community event. Set your start and end dates and share those timelines and the goals you have for any donation drive.
4) Make the donation process easy - The best checkout charity programs add the donation right to the transaction total. Make sure you understand how you can manage charitable donations through your point-of-sale system. Ideally, your system should prompt the clerk to ask customers if they'd like to donate prior to finalizing the transaction, allowing them to add in whatever donation the customer chooses to make before payment is processed.
5) Train your staff - Checkout charity has a much greater rate of success when cashiers ask for donations as part of the transaction rather than putting a silent prompt on a signature pad. Put some time into making sure your staff understand not only the process of checkout charity, but the organization you're sponsoring and how donations help. This is where that partnership I mentioned will really boost your efforts. Everyone should understand not only the how, but the why.
6) Share your success - Connect the dots when you wrap up donation drive. Tell your customers how much your community has raised and remind them what you accomplished together.