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  1. #1
    jcarlisle's Avatar
    jcarlisle is offline CM Emeritus, Reg. Member
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    Lightbulb Community Outreach Will Pay Dividends

    Helping your community is an ethical and "right" thing to do. But small-business people would be lying if they said all gestures toward the community were completely atruistic. There is DEFINITELY a public relations and customer development benefit to having well-publicized community outreach.

    A new Storage Express facility in Indiana is combining its grand opening with a visit from the humane society, which is bringing cats and dogs onto the property for adoption, as well as trying to raise funds for the organization.

    One of the recent features on ISS gets more in-depth on the value of good community relations: Community Relations Create Self-Storage Profit

    So, what outreach efforts have worked for your facility? Do you think it actually benefits business, or is the real benefit that you get the feeling that you did something good for your community? Hopefully, it's a little of both.
    John Carlisle
    Community Manager Emeritus
    Still a Big Fan of Self-Storage!
    www.chicagoprowriter.com

  2. #2
    StorGal is offline Member
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    Default ours is working very well...

    Recently, we partnered with our county domestic violence center/shelter to become a donation center for household items. We collect anything a family can use to set up house, from large furniture to fork & knives. I have it set up in a unit like a store (of course it is free for their clients - with a referral). The community has responded generously and in droves. It is driving alot of traffic to our site and we have been written up in the newspaper, etc.

    I have also recently decided to partner with Habitat for Humanity via giving them postcard sized referral cards that offer the prospective tenant 50% off the 1st two months and gives Habitat $20 as a referral incentive. In return, I'll be listed advertised on their website, constructions sites at the ReStore, etc.

    I'd have to say community outreach is going very well for us so far. Anyone else?

  3. #3
    MusicCity Gal's Avatar
    MusicCity Gal is offline Moderator
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    Our local Chamber of Commerce (which in my opinion is the best in the country!) holds two large fundraisers each year. We let them use our Free Truck for both events. We also let our Community Help Center use our Free Truck to collect can goods during our Christmas Parade every year. We are a small, tight knit community. We love our truck being seen out there by the local organizations using it and they always give us credit for letting them use our truck for free. This was a suggestion that we took from On The Move.

    We have also donated free storage for food drives and the local high school band. We have also donated warddrobe boxes to be used for trash cans at our local Patriot Day festivities (for September 11). We just write on the boxes, Donated By "Our Company".

    It really does feel good to contribute to the community.
    Stephanie Tharpe
    Operations and Marketing Specialist
    A+M Group, LLC
    Nashville, TN

  4. #4
    astro is online now Moderator
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    We have donated space to several non-profit organizations here. We have gotten several rentals from these efforts. Besides, it makes us feel good.
    Bob Taylor (Astro)
    Blue Ridge Self Storage
    Cashiers, NC

    Disclaimer: What Gina said....'cause the the cheese fell of my cracker.

  5. #5
    Gina6k's Avatar
    Gina6k is online now Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcarlisle View Post
    Helping your community is an ethical and "right" thing to do. But small-business people would be lying if they said all gestures toward the community were completely atruistic.
    As Astro would say; Ruh-oh!

    I totally took offense at your comment when I read it John! Maybe I'm in the minority, but each effort we've become involved with was because of an emotional (sorry boss) attachment that occurred. Sure, we'd be listed as a sponsor in the list of many donors, but what is the value of that in and of itself on a few hundred flyers or a few dozen event programs?

    We started off altruistically, and working very quietly, not beating our own drums, and sticking out our chests while breaking our arms trying to pat ourselves on the back. That's just not right! We managed to continue to act as 'the troll under the stairs' for 2-3 years until someone well-intentioned decided to 'out' us as the people organizing the efforts behind the scenes.

    Sponsoring the 4th of July week-long events I can say was more business driven as was our sponsorship of the Friday Night Music Series of dancing to live bands each Summer week in the streets. Those were purely business decisions, but when it comes to kids, the elderly and the down-trodden I don't think any of us would sleep at night by doing something good for just a potential business benefit. We refer to that as 'lip service'. We started by donating our own personal time, not business-affiliated and by donating a space quietly, things just kind of snowballed on us from that point.

    GIK, or drastically reduced rent to some clubs, schools or others are more business based decisions and yes, we do garner rentals from those units. It's a 'feel good' business decision helping out a group that does good things for others and receiving reciprocal business from the group's members and that's fine and everyone is on the up & up.

    I honestly believe that businesses that go into arrangements thinking 'what's in it for me and how can I ride on others coattails' are going to get back what they deserve and that's not much. Writing a check out, then putting a line in an ad or a press release is easy for anyone to do. Working on the projects, truly getting involved and the response and goodwill that comes from that is something writing a check can not do for a business. People are smart, and see right through the self-promotion tactics, but when they see staff putting their hearts and backs into projects, not just talking the talk, but actually working the front lines, they remember... and when they remember and storage comes up... those rentals are solid, good rentals with glowing referrals to our place.

    Anyway, that 2 cents is now off my chest, thanks.
    Gina 6k
    CochraneStorage dot com
    Morgan Hill, California
    twitter.com/CochraneStorage

    You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough!
    I am not an attorney, just an experienced manager who is willing to share what I have learned. Your thoughts, practices or opinions may vary and neither of us may be right.

  6. #6
    MusicCity Gal's Avatar
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    Bravo Gina. What a fantastic post!! I just love your passion! In fact I see it in most everything you write. We are very lucky to have your magnificent perception!
    Stephanie Tharpe
    Operations and Marketing Specialist
    A+M Group, LLC
    Nashville, TN

  7. #7
    jcarlisle's Avatar
    jcarlisle is offline CM Emeritus, Reg. Member
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    Perhaps the "most would be lying" comment was a little too strong. I was just trying to get the business owners on here to see another benefit of community service.

    Gina, your business's attitude is refreshing and I certainly applaud it. Those are wonderful things that your business has done -- simply for the reason of giving back.

    My perspective is jaded a little bit from volunteering with nonprofits, who always had to pitch the "what's-in-it-for-you" to local businesses to get them on board. The mission alone usually wasn't enough to get them to commit time and money.

    I'm very glad to hear that the dollar and bottom line aren't "the Almighty" for everyone.
    John Carlisle
    Community Manager Emeritus
    Still a Big Fan of Self-Storage!
    www.chicagoprowriter.com

  8. #8
    Gina6k's Avatar
    Gina6k is online now Moderator
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    Thanks MCG and John!

    Yes the lying comment was really burning at me, so I finally responded.

    I hear you John, and I've worked with some of those same NP groups in years past, which is why (even with the company backing our projects when we need cash) everything is handled as a volunteer team effort and self-serving-look-at-me types need not apply!

    The groups that pitch 'the what's in it for you' usually do not get the time of day from me. The Police Youth group or Policeman's funds (not to pick on them, there's others) or the high school sports poster calls, forget those! Those are paid solicitors and if the groups can afford to hire people, they don't need my/our donation!

    A couple years back a new Trader Joe's opened in our City. Someone really goofed and triple shipped live orchids and holiday plants, wreaths and such to them. They offered them up to local nonprofits. We had to assemble a flotilla of trucks, cars etc. but those orchids brightened nursing & veterans' homes, and went to volunteers who spent a late December Saturday giving back to others after they had served the purpose of brightening up the community event for the needy.

    The trees & wreaths brought holiday cheer to homes without any and not a single business or nonprofit benefited from Trader Joe's generousity. We as a community just all pitched in to help brighten someone else's life. That's a good example of what can be done without self promoting, and IF anyone ever were to ask; who were those people, and IF someone said "That's the gang from Cochrane Road Self Storage" then I've learned to graciously say 'anyone could have done it and you're welcome.' But that's not why we do it.

    P.S. To all NP telemarketers... don't bother phoning me! Ha-ha!
    Gina 6k
    CochraneStorage dot com
    Morgan Hill, California
    twitter.com/CochraneStorage

    You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough!
    I am not an attorney, just an experienced manager who is willing to share what I have learned. Your thoughts, practices or opinions may vary and neither of us may be right.

 

 
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