Sklar Technology Partners - December 2018

CHOOSING THE RIGHT

DELIVER A ‘WOW’

CHARITY

How Your Business Can Give Back the Right Way We believe that small businesses can have a positive impact on local communities and the wider world.A successful charity campaign can make a world of difference for people in need, especially over the holidays. But not all charitable organizations are created equal, and supporting the wrong organization can do more harm than good. Here are some tips on finding the best fit for your business.

3 Direct Mail Marketing Campaigns You Won’t Forget

Marketing is hard. If anyone could do it, there wouldn’t be a hundred self-help books claiming to hold the secret to marketing success. Fortunately, we have the answers you seek! Or, at least, we have one very good piece of advice you can’t ignore. Here are a few examples of excellent direct mail marketing. See if you can guess what they have in common. Precrumpled for Your Convenience Here’s a piece of direct mail we received at our office that we were pretty impressed with. A company that specializes in custom shirts sent Randy a sales letter and some fabric swatches. The letter itself was wrinkled up, and the eye-catching header read, “In order to save you time, we have precrumpled this paper to make it easier to throw away. Before you toss it, please use the extra seconds we have saved you to read about our offer.” LavOnline’s Tomato Splat LavOnline is an Italian-based laundry company. Eager to boost their business, LavOnline cultivated a list of 1,000 prospective clients and sent them each a small box with a tomato-shaped stress ball inside. The box unfolded into the shape of a white T-shirt, and recipients were invited to “splat” the tomato onto the shirt. The delightful, interactive ad worked wonders. Thirty-two percent of the target customers signed up, and LavOnline’s website saw a 15 percent increase in traffic overall. Earth Hour’s Candle Box Every year, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) organizes Earth Hours. This massive event aims to make people more aware of their energy use by turning off their lights for one hour. To encourage large companies to participate, the WWF sent yellow candles to several CEOs in 2010. The candles came in a box that looked like a tall office building with silhouettes of people in the windows.When the yellow candle was removed, it looked like the lights in the “building” were being turned off, floor by floor. The campaign was so memorable, corporate support for Earth Hour rose 260 percent that year. These are just a few examples of successful direct mail marketing campaigns, but the lesson can be implemented across all platforms: Don’t be boring. It doesn’t matter if you are using email, billboards, or Google AdWords. You aren’t the only person trying to get your clients’ attention, so make sure you’re the most memorable. Talk about a great hook.

Align Missions

When narrowing down the thousands of local and national charities you have to choose from, comparing the mission statements of these organizations to your own is a great place to start. Charities that align with or complement your own goals as a business are natural partners. Still, while matching big-picture goals is a great start, you also need to make sure your chosen organization aligns with the heart and soul of your business: your employees and customers.

Find Human Connections

The most powerful charity work your business can support is a cause that stems from the needs and passions of people connected to your work. Maybe a member of your team lives with a disability or a significant number of your customers face social, cultural, or economic challenges. Putting time, money, and effort into supporting a reputable organization that helps the people and communities connected to your business is one of the best ways to show you care.

Check Credentials

Good intentions only go so far.To really make your charity efforts count and ensure your donations are used appropriately, you need to do some research.Thankfully, organizations like the Better Business Bureau, CharityWatch, and GuideStar.org keep data on IRS-registered charities, making it easy to see which groups are reputable. In general, you should look for organizations that have a great track record of transparency and make all of their financial information readily available.

Remember the ‘Why’

If you’re just looking for a tax write-off or good publicity, charity efforts are going to feel hollow and frustrating. More than anything, philanthropy should involve a cause your business is passionate about — no matter how big or small.Taking the time to remind yourself why you’ve chosen to support a particular cause will keep you from losing sight of what giving back is all about.

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