Associations: SEMA Praises Latest Restoration Efforts at Bonneville Salt Flats
Is your company being a good community citizen? Are you uniting your team members and customers in supporting a common cause? Are you taking advantage of a powerful marketing tool that can build your brand and awareness?
If you answered yes to the above questions, congratulations! If not, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity for your business.
Giving back to your community is a great way to provide exposure for your facility to people who are not currently in the market for auto body repair but may be in the future. For example, in 2006, Campbell’s Soup laid the groundwork for companies to support local and national charitable groups with its Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign, in which it changed its iconic red-and-white can labels to pink. People like to support businesses that give back by providing sponsorships, supporting charities, funding worthwhile causes and helping improve the overall community.
Sense of Community
As the co-owner of three collision repair locations in Denver — CARSTAR Ideal Northglenn, CARSTAR Ideal Arvada and CARSTAR Ideal Littleton — we support local and national charitable organizations each year. This helps to provide us, our employees and their families a sense of community. Some of our initiatives are done in conjunction with the CARSTAR Colorado Business Group, which spreads the goodwill across the entire market by collectively donating our money and time.
We currently work with Make-A-Wish Foundation of Colorado to fulfill vehicle restoration wishes for teenagers. They contact our CARSTAR Colorado Business Group and then, between all the facilities, we determine the best course of action and which shop will take on the restoration. We’ve been involved in granting 21 vehicle wishes over the last 10 years or so. It’s very rewarding to help the teenagers and their families, and we’re grateful to be a part of each and every wish. In addition to this, we support local youth sports by sponsoring teams or events.
For our national efforts, we do a great deal of fundraising for cystic fibrosis research and advocacy — one of CARSTAR’s main focuses — across North America. Each year, we participate in the Great Strides event, during which approximately 100 employees and their families from our CARSTAR Colorado Business Group raise money and participate in the walk. We also host a CARSTAR Colorado Golf Tournament that also raises money for cystic fibrosis.
Through our membership in the National Auto Body Council, we participate in Recycled Rides, where we restore vehicles that are then donated to families or members of the U.S. military who are in need.
Brand and Trust
We’ve seen a tremendous impact on our business from our community involvement, specifically a greater awareness of our brand and higher level of trust by the community at large — which ultimately brings more cars to our doors. In addition, we display several awards from our fundraising in the lobbies of our facilities, which allows customers to see our dedication to the community when they walk through the door. I sincerely believe we’ve gained more business from people who know we give back to our community, and I think any collision repair business can see the same benefits.
This year, we’re planning to continue our current support with the charities with which we’re currently aligned. However, if the opportunity arises where we can give back in a different way, we’ll always entertain that idea.
Keys to Consider
Once you decide you want to launch or expand your community giving program, there are several key aspects to consider:
- Choose a cause that’s important to you and your employees — you’ll be more engaged and passionate about your efforts.
- Talk with your team members about your program and ask for their input — their buy-in is critical to the success of your fundraising efforts.
- Determine your budget for the program, both in time as well as your team members’ talents and financial contributions.
- Reach out to your local 20 group, network and business partners to discuss their charitable programs so you can mimic their efforts.
- Set a timetable and work plan, just like you would for a vehicle repair, and make your charitable outreach part of your ongoing business.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. Tell your customers, insurers, business partners and the community what you plan on doing, share milestones of your efforts, and celebrate the results.
We believe that seeing our efforts regarding charities and charitable events makes our staff understand that we’re more than just business owners and that we genuinely care about the communities where we live and/or work. That alone delivers a huge return on investment (ROI) for us.
Giving back is more than just holding a food drive or sponsoring a local baseball team. If you can incorporate the spirit of philanthropy into the culture of your company, it will deliver dividends for years to come. And those dividends don’t just come from customers — they come with the personal satisfaction that you’re doing something for the greater good.