Will Your Franchise Give Back to the Community?
Donations and volunteerism – this is an important part of owning a business by giving back to those you serve. Yet it's also one that entrepreneurs don't consider until they're already up and running. Perhaps it's a goal to "get on their feet," or maybe it doesn't cross their minds until a slew of kids knocks on their door. In any situation, however, donating is almost always a scenario that business owners do not have readily in place.
It simply gets overlooked.
That's also why considering this aspect now can help bring you ahead of the curve. Understanding your own expectations can allow you to decide on a franchising company sooner rather than later. Keep your altruism in mind when looking at brands, and you can help narrow the playing field.
When non-profits ask for a donation, will you provide it? In what form? Cash? Coupons? Free service or labor? (Even if it's not within your field.) Check with your franchising brand to see if they have set standards within this category, or, if there are simply guidelines that you should stay within.
What about local organizations? Kids raising money for camps, and so on. Know what you can do, but also what you're willing to do. Having this in mind from the get-go will keep you from having to make quick decisions later on. And it will keep your efforts even across the board. (Unless you become smitten with a particular group or activity.)
Next, set your goals. How many establishments do you want to help? Do you donate to a certain theme? Is everyone who asks granted a donation? Or do you go out and seek brands whose ideals you most support? And in what capacity are you willing able to provide?
There are many ways to go about such donations, and there isn't a right or wrong answer. Simply do some background checking, along with a side of research, to see how much you can support through your mother brand, and how.
Of course, it's a good idea to talk with your team before making any action. First, gain approval from the franchising company. Next, talk to your lawyer, accountant, and perhaps all of the above so you know you're taking the best course of action. And getting credit for all of your non-taxable donations, too. (Which might make a big difference when filing, come April.)
Will the brand themselves help foot any funds? Can you donate company time and/or resources? Get the down low so you know just what's legal (and what, if any paperwork that might be required from it.)
You might even gain access to a company-wide mention for your donations, or eligibility for an award, etc. While you are providing out of the goodness of your own heart, there's nothing wrong with some added publicity while you're at it. Right? Especially when it gives you props among peers.
Another way to go about giving back to the community, is by encouraging your employees. If you have those who are willing to help others, let them. Encourage this behavior as much as possible, and be sure to remain flexible with work schedules, etc., so it's not difficult for them to give time.
You can also provide incentives for workers, such as eligibility for a raise, recognition and awards, promotion opportunities, and more. The workers who willingly volunteer are bettering themselves personally and professionally, but are also showing they want to help others.
Giving back is an important aspect of your business. It shows that you're invested in your area and that you want your community to grow and thrive. In turn, it will prove to customers that you're out for more than just business. Chances are, more customers will learn about your services and the thoughtful owner behind them, too.
For more information about donating in your area, and beyond, read our success stories from current franchisees.