I’ve written a couple of articles on Small Business Saturday the last few years and they are mostly about merchandising and ways to increase your sales. In Don’t Miss Your Big Opportunities in November from last year, I touched on helping nonprofits on this day with a partnership that would benefit you both. I decided to focus on that for this year’s feature on Small Business Saturday—some cause marketing.
Step One – Choose a Charity
Choose a local charity that aligns with your shop or products, your core values, or a cause that has affected your family. Choosing a charity that has an obvious connection to your business, makes it a logical choice for your customers to want to help. In addition, you have a story to share about why you want to make a difference in this cause.
You could easily marry the promotion with something celebrated this month. Let’s say you have a barber shop. Movember is an initiative to raise awareness (and fund programs) for men’s health. Growing a moustache for donations is part of that org’s activities. Making donations to Movember.org for every haircut you perform on Small Business Saturday would be a great way to pack the house and do something great for men’s health. Make a plan that while people are in your shop because $5 of their haircut is going to charity, sell them some products or introduce them to your loyalty program so they come back and visit you.
Step Two – Create a Great Promotion
Here are some options:
– You can dedicate all or a portion of the proceeds of the sales of one item or a group of items to go to the charity.
– If you are an artist or a maker, you could create a design for a t-shirt (or other item—mug, socks, earrings, hat, etc.) that promotes the charity and sell the t-shirts with the profit going to the cause. Make it a limited edition and create a new one next year so people will want to collect the set.
– Create a round-up and collect change for change! Easy! Just ask people to donate their change (or more) from every transaction to your chosen organization.
– You can set-up your chosen charity for Giving Tuesday. Small Business Saturday takes place just three days before Giving Tuesday. You can create a simple in-store display and/or add a printed postcard to their shopping bag asking people to support your favorite charity on Giving Tuesday. Include a QR code that connects directly to the nonprofit’s donation page to make it super simple to give.
Step Three – Promote Your Promotion
Share what you’re doing across your social media platforms and make sure you @ and # the nonprofit and its relative #s. Send an announcement to your email list, asking them to share, refer, and bring friends. Add a promotional banner to your website announcing to your customers that their purchases not only help your small business (the backbone of our economy) but also a worthwhile charity.
Add signage in your window, store, lobby, and tell people all about it!
Nonprofit leaders, ask someone to do this for you! Do not be shy! You know you have local business owners and shopkeepers who love you and will help you anyway they can. It can be any kind of business. A restaurant could donate funds when a certain dish is ordered—Comforting Mac and Cheese for Postpartum Depression Prevention, or a cocktail––Cosmopolitans for the Clean Air Coalition. Build on this opportunity that lends itself to a perfect nonprofit-profit partnership.
I’ll say it again, IT CAN BE ANY KIND OF BUSINESS!
Maybe you’re in professional services and you aren’t even open on Saturdays. Are you in a Main Street corridor? If you are, you want to be OPEN this one Saturday of the year. Invite people in for a chat about your business, have a packaged craft that people can take home to their kids (with your logo and business card included). Have some coffee and cookies for shopped out guests. There are many things you can do in your business shopping corridor to add value and be remembered.
If your clients are small businesses, then you definitely want to support them on this day. You can sponsor one or more of them with treats to have for their customers with a sign reflecting your support for the day. Whether it’s cookies and apple cider, or a special reusable shopping bag that you supplied, these things add to the shopping experience.
Here are some other blog posts with ideas to help you:
Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and small businesses. She is the author of Laws of Promotion. The 50-page promotional guide for small businesses and local nonprofits is available now on Amazon. Call her for help with your promotion. If you found this post helpful, please leave a note here and feel free to share it.