When the IFA's Franchise Education and Research Foundation honored CertaPro Painters with the Support Our Veterans Award at the inaugural Franchising Gives Back Awards this past fall, it was a bittersweet moment. It brought me back to several years ago when one of our franchisees, Chris Drucquer, approached us about how we as a brand needed to start giving back. With our vast network of professional painting contractors nationwide, surely we had the manpower and reach to make significant contributions to the communities we served. It was just a matter of deciding exactly how we would do that.
After countless hours of research and in-depth discussions with our senior leadership and several franchisees, we can say proudly that, to date, we have raised more than $260,000 in much-needed funds and an additional $160,000 in in-kind donations as a national sponsor of Homes for Our Troops, a privately funded nonprofit organization that builds specially adapted, mortgage-free homes for the most severely injured veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This didn't happen overnight, of course, and starting a charitable program is no easy task. But there are several key steps you can take to ensure a smooth process if you're planning to develop a program from scratch.
DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE
Before aligning with an organization or cause, do your research. It will be incredibly important for those involved--corporate employees, franchisees and local customers--to be able to rally behind a particular cause, especially if you're asking them to donate or raise money. All those involved will want to feel as their time and money are benefitting the right place.
By not doing your due diligence, your customers likely will do theirs, and that could result in a negative response and limited, if any, participation. Sites such as CharityNavigator.org are incredibly beneficial in providing detail such as ratings on accountability and transparency, and the percent of each dollar that benefits the cause.
ALIGN YOUR BRANDS
Once you've done your due diligence and narrowed your choices, select the cause that resonates most with who you are as an organization, whether you're a franchisor, franchisee or supplier. Homes for Our Troops was the perfect choice for CertaPro Painters because the organization builds homes and we paint homes. We were able to get paint donated through our partnership with Sherwin-Williams. Of course, it was a chance to work on projects that have a lasting...