THE GIFT OF GOODWILL: Establishing community connections through charitable giving.

Author:Moran, Paula

Many franchises partner with a charitable organization to help support a worthwhile cause. Whether teaming up with a youth organization, raising money for medical research or helping families in need, these initiatives provide financial resources and awareness for a charity while creating community goodwill for the franchise. The partnerships are beneficial for all involved, and it is heartwarming to see so many of these groups being greatly assisted by the support of a franchise, its customers and vendor partners. Where should you start?

Execute a Plan

How does a franchise choose the right partner organization, and what are the best ways to keep its audience engaged in supporting the designated cause? A franchise should stay involved with the charity throughout the year and create messaging that is consistent with the program's mission. There are many benefits to creating and maintaining

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(continued from page 50) these partnerships. To maximize effectiveness, a franchise should have a strategic plan on how it executes such initiatives. The first action you should take is to identify a cause that you and your team is passionate about. This is essential, as the goal should be to build a long-term relationship with a charitable organization. It takes time, energy and resources to do that. Having that emotional connection to the cause will motivate others and bring added success. A good charitable fit will also resonate with a franchise's audience.

Find the Right Cause

There are many deserving charities worthy of consideration, and it can be tempting to select multiple organizations to support. Regardless, it is important to pick one in which there is a connection with the franchise brand. It gives the franchise the ability to focus on a single cause and make a more significant impact on a specific charity. This method also helps strengthen your message with a charitable partnership, rather than having it spread out through several different campaigns.

A franchise must decide how active and involved to be in their charitable programs throughout the year, and how to best direct its support. Some franchises designate a specified portion of their proceeds to go to a charity, while others may contribute along with the support of their customers. If you decide to solicit contributions from your customer base, determine how that would be best received without detracting from the guest experience. Franchises also need to examine...

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