When you opened your studio, you were probably more focused on the workout you were offering than the neighborhood you were nestled in. But it doesn’t take long to learn that the two—your business and your community—go hand in hand. As we’ve mentioned in the past, 85 percent of consumers have a higher perception of businesses that give back to a charity. Supporting a local charity connects you to the community you’re operating in and helps clients give back as well. Here, we explore a number of ways you can get involved in a mission you believe in.
FIND A MISSION
If you’re going to be rallying support around a cause, it’s important that you find personal meaning in the charity, and choose something that is relevant to both your clients and employees alike. First, you’ll need to determine if this is a one-off partnership or an open-ended relationship. Brainstorm the kind of causes you want to be involved in, whether the environment, animal rights, etc. Next, tap a like-minded established charity within your community—think your local Boys & Girls chapter, the YMCA, soup kitchens or women’s shelters. Once you’ve found an organization, set up a meeting with them to brainstorm ways you can partner either on one big fundraiser, or how you can work together throughout the calendar year.
Supporting the victims of a local tragedy is another cause you can take on, so keep your eyes and ears out for anything that is affecting your clients and your community. A family left homeless after a fire, for example, or a child battling a disease. Reach out to the family (or friends of the family) to assess what they need most and then how you can help them in their time of need.
Writing a check is certainly one way be charitable, but it isn’t the only way. If you’d like to directly help the benefactors of the charity, consider serving at a soup kitchen, hosting a boxing clinic for the underprivileged Boys & Girls Club kids, or teaching a yoga class at the women’s shelter—the options are endless if you get creative.
Opting to partake in a local food drive is a great way to increase your visibility around town—and it doesn’t require a great deal of time. Register your studio as a drop-off station, accept donations throughout the season, and then spend an hour or two delivering the goods to their destinations. The same goes for a displaced family in town—setting up a donation bin for the family is an excellent way to support them while also raising awareness about their plight.
Another quick way to support a charity? Set up an old school collection jar. Attach a brief description of the cause to the jar and see what happens! You’ll be surprised by how many of your clients will drop a few dollars into the jar on their way in and out of your studio.
Many charities host one or two big events a year. Sponsoring the event is certainly one way to get involved, as is donating classes or a membership package to the raffle portion of the event. In the case of a local tragedy, you could also opt to host an impromptu event for the victim or victims at your studio—teach a Saturday morning spin class with all the proceeds going to the family, or follow in the footsteps of Gina Striffler at the Bar Method in Madison, New Jersey and dedicate a full day of classes to someone in need. To raise funds for a local boy diagnosed with cancer, Striffler donated thousands of dollars in proceeds from all of the day’s classes to the family—she had 141 clients participate, all of whom dressed in the boy’s school colors for the workout.
Hosting a post-class trunk show is another fundraising idea. Partner with a brand representative (Stella & Dot, Rodan & Fields, Beautycounter and India Hicks are just a few of the trunk show brands out there), and then donate proceeds from the shopping event to your charity.
Once you’ve identified your business as one that gives back to the community, you can expect more requests to start rolling. Have a policy in place where you either give a standard fundraising gift or have a biannual deadline for organizations to file their requests by.