How a small investment in charity involvement can yield huge returns
Running a small business is tough. When you add up all the time and money you need to spend on maintaining your premises and equipment, hiring and developing your staff and of course providing top-quality dental care to your patients, you’d be forgiven for feeling like a charity yourself. So why on earth should you then spend what little extra time you have raising money for someone else?
There are two answers to that question – in short, it depends on the type of person you are. If you’re an empathetic, bleeding heart sort, then you’ll be doing it for purely altruistic reasons; simply put, it makes you feel good to do good. Great! But, frankly, no one will fault you for having slightly more pragmatic motives too. Because the truth is that charitable and community involvement is great for business.
How can giving time and/or money away help your bottom line? Because of the Karma-rketing principle.* The word karma comes from the Sanskrit meaning work, action or deed, and the online fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia, defines karma as ‘the spiritual principle of cause and effect, where intent and actions influence the future. Good intent and good deeds contribute to good karma and future happiness.’ Now, you may or may not believe in the mystical powers that be, but one thing we hope you do agree with is the power of marketing to improve your practice’s fortunes. And when your practice engages in charitable work, your marketing quotient (MQ**) skyrockets. For all you graph nerds, see the graph above!
And for those of you who prefer to have it all laid out in black and white, here are the bullet points:
- Put your best foot forward – telling your patients who you are is important, as it helps them feel a connection, builds trust and fosters long-term loyalty. Just make sure you’re showing them the best side of you, both as a practice and as individuals. Caring about a charity will tell them that you’ll care about them and their families too.
- Lead by example – positioning yourselves as community leaders is a great way to elevate your local profile and, again, build trust and confidence in your practice. As they say, actions speak louder than words. By getting out there and rolling your sleeves up to make a difference, you’re establishing yourselves as pillars of the community – and who better to come to for dental care?
- Make connections – harnessing the power of community is all about networking. When you get involved in charitable activities, you’ll meet other civic-minded members of the local community, as well as local dignitaries, all of whom are great spokespeople for your practice!
- Strengthen your team – working together for a common charitable goal involves many of the elements of good teamwork that will make your practice run more smoothly and be more welcoming to patients. And the opportunity to step outside of their everyday roles and see each other in a different light will help team members bond in ways that daily work in a busy practice can’t.
- Encourage staff buy-in – doing good things makes you feel good about yourself – and your practice. Your staff will feel more invested in you as an employer if you’re involved in charitable works together, especially if they’ve been involved in the decision-making process regarding choice of charity and fundraising activity. And staff who are invested in your practice are more likely to work harder and better!
So gather your team and get started! Pick a charity, decide on a way to help (either fundraising or direct action) and then schedule time to get it done. If you’d like some help as you venture into corporate social responsibility (CSR), follow our lead and hire Mark Topley, the CSR Coach. He’ll help you focus your priorities and efforts and give you a framework for taking it forward. And, above all, don’t forget to toot your own horn and shout about your CSR on social media (or tell us so we can do that for you)!
*We just coined that phrase, but feel free to use it (with attribution). See? We do charity too!
**We invented this, too. It means your marketable capital, or how easy it is for us to sell your practice to your target audience.