It happens almost daily in our stores and we’re torn because we’re constantly wondering if it makes good business sense (Will I capture enough new customers?) and our benevolent hearts for charity. Every charitable donation should be done for one of three reasons: You will create great goodwill for your existing customers. You will gain enough NEW customers to justify the expense. Or you are giving out of the goodness of your heart and the return doesn’t matter.
Include charitable events in your annual marketing budget. When it’s out, you’re done. Better yet, define the charities that mean the most to you and your staff in your budget. One way to reduce the number of inquiries is to tell them that you review all your charitable donations in January and all requests must be submitted by then. This will weed-out many of them and encourage the more serious charities.
Sometimes charitable giving just makes good business sense because they’re talking to the right crowd. Consider OWNING the entire event or doing nothing at all. The attention can quickly be drawn away from your store if another jeweler has offered a cooler or pricier item.
Create a form for every charity to fill out. Don’t give something to someone immediately when they walk in. Make them quantify and justify your contribution and have a review committee of two or more people. This will help you make better decisions and takes the blame off one person’s shoulders.
Finally, you may want to consider putting all of your eggs in one basket and concentrating on one single charity but in a big way. This way you will “own” the entire audience and you can make a substantial contribution, this being much more effective than spreading your financial corn among many chickens.