Body shops all over the country do an amazing amount of charity work and community outreach. They enlist in global organizations, nationally known donation services and more. There are also other collision repairers who believe that charity begins at home, and will sponsor little league sporting events, school related fundraisers, etc. Then, other collision repairers wonder if philanthropy is a role that the collision industry should play – and if so, why? Is it only ideal for the larger chains or also appropriate for smaller independent shops? Why do we do it and does it really improve the bottom line?
These are all valuable questions to ask, and all of which deserve an answer. So, here are five reasons why shops should make philanthropy a priority and a big part of their overall approach to doing business.
Do It for You
Some say that true philanthropy means that you give things away without expecting any recognition for doing so. Well, that might be fine for those who are fortunate enough to give away millions every year, but for a body shop, there should be several reasons associated for donating a car, cash or services to a deserving individual or non-profit entity. Shop owners who are involved in an annual giving program recognize that philanthropy is a win-win situation.
One manager of a large MSO said, “We actually do it for ourselves in the end, because it enables us to sleep better at night knowing we’re helping people and organizations in need. We’re in a position to do it, so why not?”
Do It for Your Community
Many body shop owners involve the community in their philanthropy, whether it’s the local Girl or Boy Scouts, Little Leagues, YMCA, Kiwanis, Rotary, etc. They sponsor car washes, luncheons and other special events in conjunction with body shops to stay connected to their community and build their brand by doing so.
Do It for Your Employees
People like working for a company that is willing to help others, and that attitude permeates through the staff. In many car giveaway programs, the shop’s body and paint techs help out to refurbish the vehicles before they’re given away. In many cases, they also donate their hours to make these cars “like new.” This way, the employees also walk the walk when it comes to helping others, which creates a great positive vibe throughout the entire company.
Do it for Your Vendors
Smart shops that do charity outreach also get their vendors onboard and make them partners in their efforts. Paint companies, local jobbers and other companies that sell equipment, supplies and management systems to the collision industry are in many cases very willing and anxious to piggy back on the their customers’ philanthropy. Some of your larger vendors have money in their marketing budgets earmarked for charity endeavors, so sometimes all you need to do is ask.
Do it for Your Insurance Partners
As vital members of every business community, insurance companies are also looking for ways to help their local communities and partnering with the collision industry is an ideal way to achieve this. In car presentation programs nationwide, insurance companies donate the cars, accessories, insurance, fuel and other items to make these benevolence events a huge success. It helps everyone because it shows that both body shops and insurance companies want to work together to improve the community while making it a better place to live, work and raise a family.
In any industry, we don’t always get a chance to make a difference, but by reaching out and helping those in need, it will enhance your role in the community, and you’ll see the results rather quickly. Find your particular passion (animal rights, anti-texting, teenage driving safety, drug rehab, youth outreach), or work with your local non-profits close to your heart to set up an annual giving plan that won’t break the bank. In a short time, you’ll reap the benefits, and the best one will be your own peace of mind.
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