Your clients may be expecting more from you than outstanding professional service. A 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR (corporate social responsibility) Study found that 91 percent of global consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit and operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues. For many spa and massage practitioners, social responsibility means community involvement, whether you donate your time and massage therapy services for a special event to raise money or on an ongoing basis to help an underserved segment of the population, such as the homeless, seniors, or a group suffering from a particular health problem.
It also turns out that giving back to your community helps your spa and massage practice in ways other than living up to client expectations. A study by Ernst & Young and the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund found that 62 percent of small business owners say that giving back to their community has made their company more successful in the long run.
Here are some of the ways giving back can boost your bottom line in the long run.
- Boost your brand reputation: More people know you and, as a result, talk about your spa or massage practice to others (word of mouth marketing) and through social media. Consumers looking for professional massage therapy or skin care services will be more positively disposed to yours.
- Gain community goodwill: Giving back to the community is an excellent way to build goodwill. Your customers value your contribution, and you gain respect among community leaders who may help promote your company to other local organizations.
- Learn new skills: Volunteering can introduce you to a new type of client – pregnant women, seniors, or children - with needs you may not have addressed before so that the experience can expand your expertise.
- Attract new employees: Today’s millennials are particularly drawn to socially responsible companies. By contributing to the community, your spa or massage therapy practice will stand out as a place to seek employment.
- Build team spirit among employees: Involvement in a local charity can boost employee morale. Working together on a charitable event sponsored by your spa or massage practice also helps build bonds among employees.
Choose the right charitable partner
There are many worthwhile causes, so it can be difficult to decide which ones are best for you. You want to avoid a mismatch, which can result from a philosophical difference in getting things done or partnering with a group that asks for too much of your time. Here are some suggestions for finding the right organization for your spa or massage practice to support.
Establish criteria: Your criteria can vary from the size of the organization to location. Work with your team to decide what qualities and characteristics make the right fit. Once you have your criteria, begin a search of potential candidates. You may already have a few in mind or some who have contacted you. Create a target list.
Do your homework: Conduct research online, talk to people, and contact target organizations for information to develop a profile of each of the candidates on your target list. Compare mission statements and goals. Also, make sure the organizations are compliant with the IRS as tax-exempt. Any contribution you make may not be tax deductible if the organization doesn't meet IRS specifications,
Ensure accountability and transparency: Ensure that you are comfortable with the way the organization tracks its financials and meets its stated goals. You should also look into the group's fundraising tactics, including outreach to donors and other donation-generating activities, to see if there are any red flags.
Donating your services to charitable organizations boosts your standing among clients and prospects. But take the time to find the right organization where you know you can make a difference and be proud to showcase as your partner.