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Apr 13, 2018

Four Keys to Success for Your Business's Next Charity Event

Sponsored Content provided by JC Lyle - Executive Director, Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry

In 2016, nCino employees, led by Drew Heath, held a golf tournament with proceeds going to WARM. In addition to raising money, the employees enjoyed a beautiful Friday outdoors together instead of behind their desks.

This article was co-written with WARM's Marketing and Event Coordinator, Elizabeth Guy.
 
I’ve been happy to see the rising popularity of Charity Days and Share Nights, where a business donates a percentage of the day’s or evening’s proceeds to a nonprofit.

These events are an element of Cause Marketing, which helps businesses earn a reputation for giving back to the community.

Cause Marketing is not just philanthropy, but smart business strategy. Recent research found that 78 percent of Americans want companies to address social justice issues and 87 percent would purchase a product because of the company’s support of a cause they care about.

While the main benefit is awareness, the framework of a special event offers an opportunity for both to generate revenue. Here are a few tips we’ve learned over the years.


Pre-Event Marketing By Both Partners

 Last summer, Bill’s Front Porch held a share night for a different nonprofit every Wednesday. WARM was chosen for one of the weeks. Bill’s put out some great marketing material, including fabulous posters featuring all the beneficiaries. Making the events weekly and naming them “Wilmington Wednesdays” helped people remember it.

WARM promoted our Bill’s night to our supporters through email, word-of-mouth and social media. Our staff and board members attended and brought friends; some of our social media followers attended, too. Many of our people said it was their first time to Bill’s Front Porch! Our friends at Bill’s were happy with the results and invited us to participate again this year! Hope you will join us on Wednesday, July 11.


Do More At The Event

Conveniently, one of our other supporters, Relax Massage Therapy, celebrated their 15th anniversary the same month as our Bill’s Front event. We used the opportunity to make the event even bigger. Gretchen Rivas, owner of Relax, donated massages and other goodies to raffle off, attended the event to promote Relax, and brought her own network of friends. This worked well because Bill’s and Relax aren’t competitors and both owners are open to new ideas.


Raise Money For Something Specific

When Alexandra Lysik from Cavik Insurance offered to sponsor an event in Brunswick County, we decided that “Donate to WARM” was not as compelling as “Help cancer survivor, Ms. Peggy, stay in her home.” Alexandra’s friends and colleagues were so moved by Ms. Peggy’s story that over $1,000 was raised to repair her roof.


Get The Staff Involved

The Copper Penny, Apple Annie’s and Wilmington Brewing Company partner up to raise money for a different nonprofit every month. The Copper Penny designates every Tuesday as Giving Tuesday, donating $1.09 for every 109 Chestnut Chicken Sandwich or WBC Penny Pale Ale. It’s no surprise The Copper Penny waitstaff won Encore’s Best Waitstaff award! They are all well informed about the charity of the month and encourage guests to order the special items.

Want to see these best practices in action? We will use all these best practices and more on Friday, June 29 when Salt Air Heating & Cooling sponsors the Wilmington Sharks Friday Night Fireworks game. The generous owners of Salt Air, Devin and Brooke Skipper, have selected WARM as their charity for the night! The Sharks are auctioning off player jerseys and holding a raffle with proceeds going to WARM. Four dollars from every ticket purchased at this link will go to WARM and our board president Joe Finley will throw out the first pitch! All three of our organizations are community minded and it has been fun to brainstorm!

If you are planning a charity night, tell me about it in the comments section of this post. I commend you and hope it is a wild success.

Combining her professional experience in the Cape Fear region’s housing and real estate for-profit sector and volunteer experience with disaster recovery and housing-related nonprofits, JC Lyle (formerly Skane) was hired in 2009 to serve as the executive director of Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry (WARM). WARM is a grassroots nonprofit whose mission is to make homes safer by completing urgent repairs, accessibility upgrades and storm damage. Under her leadership, WARM has steadily grown from serving 44 households in 2008 to 155 households in 2016. Her public recognition includes Wilma Magazine's 2012 Woman to Watch in the Nonprofit Category, a 2014 Coastal Entrepreneur Award in the Nonprofit Category, given by the Greater Wilmington Business Journal and UNC Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and invitations to speak at NC Center for Nonprofits Conference and NC Affordable Housing Conference. She will graduate in May with her Master of Business Administration at UNC-Wilmington.

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