As a business owner, you’re already multitasking your way through each day, so it’s no wonder that adding “support a charity” to your list can seem a bit daunting. But for a new or small studio that is relatively unknown in the community, sponsoring a local charity can go a long way in shining a light on your business.
Still wondering how worthwhile charitable work really is? Consider this: A 2010 study revealed that 85 percent of consumers have a higher perception of businesses that give back to a charity. Donating your time and effort to help another person or organization generates positivity around your brand, it conveys your values to the community at large and it shows that you’re invested in more than just the bottom line.
Affiliating your studio with a cause will also go a long way in boosting the morale of your staffers. Giving back to the community just feels good, and being able to do so while also earning a paycheck—that’s likely to be a real bonus to your trainers. (Of course you aren’t obliged to pay staffers to attend a charity event, but you could entice them to participate with a paid ½ day off in the future or with freebie t-shirts promoting the charity to show your appreciation.)
CHOOSING THE RIGHT CAUSE
When assessing which charity is a good fit for your company, consider how the cause aligns with your studio’s mission and philosophy. You’ll want to rally support from your trainers and clients alike, so the charity should be on the same page as your business—meaning if you’re a barre studio with a predominantly female client base, consider charities benefiting breast cancer or heart disease research. If you’re a boot camp studio that specializes in Iron Man-type training, think of Wounded Warriors or sponsoring a marathon that benefits veterans.
Another option is choosing a cause that’s got local ties and will resonate within the community. In many cases, however, picking a charity might be an obvious choice, especially if you, a staffer or a client has a close affiliation to a cause or organization.
An incredible example of this scenario is Debbie Wolff, co-owner of Fusion Fitness and O2 Yoga in Coral Springs, Florida, who has chosen to support Cycle for Survival in honor of Adam Fiorello, the 22-year-old son of Wolff’s longtime friend and client, who is battling a rare form of cancer. Raising monies for pediatric and rare cancers, Wolff is hosting the Cycle for Survival/Team Adam event in March at an outdoor park in Parkland, where she’s supplying 40 or so stationary bikes and has 75 participants registered so far, roughly two-thirds of whom are Wolff’s clients or family of clients. “This is a community event, but even more importantly, this cause is world wide,” said Wolff. “I don’t think anyone can say they haven’t, in some way, been affected by cancer. This is our first year of hopefully many events, and my clients have been amazingly supportive.”
While the altruistic reasons behind giving back are abundant, it’s also worth noting that sponsorship of a charity generates publicity for your brand. Marketing dollars that you would have previously allotted elsewhere can instead be put towards the promotion of this partnership—think t-shirts with both your studio and the charity’s names on it, or materials promoting a specific event. Be sure to leverage your social media channels to fully engage all the promotional levers at your fingertips.