While working near Kansas City, Missouri, this month, I ran across an article about a local senior living provider’s support of the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The article detailed how the provider’s efforts had resulted in a sizable donation to the Alzheimer’s Association raised by events scheduled throughout the year including bake sales, chili cookoffs, BBQs and waffle breakfasts. It was an impressive overview of what I call the charity strategy, which I encourage many of my clients to include in their strategic marketing plans.
It is common for providers to participate in walks like the Alzheimer’s Association’s, Relay for Life and other events. However, these one-time events leave considerable opportunity on the table for providers to create exposure for their organizations.
Here are the four elements of an effective charity strategy:
1. Choose one charity your team can commit to supporting for the entire year.
There are many different options for you to consider when picking a charity, including large well known organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association and local ones such as a food bank or homeless shelter. Choosing one enables you and your team to focus on that charity, allowing creativity to flow about what types of events to create. It also gives that charity, especially local ones, an incentive to support your facility and the events you create. They will be your partner throughout the year in your charity strategy.
As a side note: Just because you pick one charity to support the entire year doesn’t mean you can’t participate in other charitable events in your area.
2. Create a list of events to raise funds and support your charity of choice.
The list of possible events is endless, including events that targeted for just professionals. I have participated in inspired events ranging from crawfish boils and Paint the Facility Purple Day for Relay for Life to food drive happy hours for professionals where the price of admission is a bag of canned goods. I encourage one big event per quarter for the public at large (invite your professional referral sources too) and smaller events just for team members or resident families.
3. Engage partners to support to assist you in the development and execution of your events.
Internal and external partners are important for your event’s success. When many of your team members are involved with the strategy you get better results with your fund-raising efforts and execution of your events. Get your families involved too.
Referral source partners can also be a great resource by helping with planning, set up, promotion and the costs of an event. Further, a well-executed charity strategy can provide access to referral sources that may otherwise be difficult to access or partner with. It will help forge new professional relationships and strengthen existing ones.
If you are a home care agency or hospice and do not have facilities of your own, partner with an assisted living site, skilled nursing facility or a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) to be a host location for your own charity events!