Christmas is over, but the giving season is in full swing. Successful auto shops make a dedicated effort to build strong community ties, including giving back to those in need. A simple donation drive can positively impact your neighborhood and bring more exposure to your shop. Here are four ideas to get you started.
1. Food Drive
Unfortunately, many people struggle to feed their families. Start by setting up a designated collection box in your shop’s lobby and advertise using flyers/social media. Come up with a cool, relevant slogan like “Drive Away Hunger” (I thought it was catchy 😊). You can even offer an incentive for donations – customer brings in a brown paper bag full of non-perishable food and is awarded with a free oil change.
2. Toy Drive
Every kid should have a gift to open during the holidays. Encourage community members to drop off donations during your normal business hours or rent a locked box for after-hours drop-offs. Educational toys and ones that don’t require batteries are always preferred – board games, science kits, Legos, action figures, dolls, play-doh, crayons/coloring books, etc. Consider planning a secondary drive to collect used stuffed animals for dogs at your local animal shelter.
3. Book Drive
“In the U.S., two-thirds of all children and 82% of children in low-income families read below grade level.” (NAEP) That statistic is horrifying; but increasing access to books is the first step to improve reading comprehension and foster imagination in our future leaders. Your auto shop can host a community book drive for local schools or literacy programs. Encourage donors to leave a handwritten message for a young reader on the inside cover of a donated book.
4. Toiletry Drive
Many people who experience homelessness or escape domestic violence situations have nothing. A donation of basic hygiene items such as toothbrush/toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, soap, feminine products, and deodorant can provide immense relief. Partner with a local shelter to host a toiletry drive and reward donors with discounted services.
Community giving should be an integral part of your business strategy; both to make a difference and shine a spotlight on your shop. Start planning a giving project today!