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Dealerships team up with charitable organizations

Charities have been especially hard-hit by COVID-19. Many previous donors might be in financial straits themselves, and limits on gatherings and events further challenge fundraising efforts. At the same time, needs have grown, with more people than ever relying on charitable services. Charities are looking for alternate ways to connect with funds so they can continue to do their essential work.

Becoming a Charitable Center

Dealerships across the country are stepping up to the plate in a big way. After hearing about food pantries and banks experiencing disruptions, Vic Bailey Volkswagen in Spartanburg, SC, opened itself up as a donation center for non-perishable food items. The dealership ran the campaign as a community challenge to fill the entire trunk of an Atlas. It wasn’t long before they had to push down the third and second rows to make room for the over 500 pounds of food brought in for a local disaster relief program.

The Larry H. Miller dealership in Tucson, AZ, also tackled food insecurity brought on by COVID-19, partnering with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Their “Driven to Assist” program collected roughly 1,600 pounds of non-perishable foods for the Food Bank’s school pantries program. They didn’t stop there, however. They also partnered with the Red Cross to run a blood drive in June, collecting 715 pints, enough blood to save over 1,000 lives during this crisis.

Related: How to Incorporate Charity and Community Give-Back into Your Dealership Branding

Making Giving Easier

Serra Subaru, in Traverse City, MI, used a different model to give back. This summer, their Share the Love event raised a little over $33,000 in donations for the Child and Family Services (C.F.S.) of Northwestern Michigan. C.F.S. supports foster care, adoption, counseling, and other family programming for the region. The Share the Love event was a six-week program that allowed customers to designate $250 from a purchase or lease to C.F.S. Serra Subaru also gives customers opportunities to donate to other national charities, such as A.S.P.C.A., Meals-on-Wheels America, and the National Parks Foundation. This year, they brought in an additional $10,000 for those.

AutoNation in Corpus Christi, TX, has taken a similar path, making it easier for customers to donate to an important charity. AutoNation has long been recognized for its “Drive Pink” initiative supporting cancer research, treatment, and charities both at local and national levels. For years AutoNation in Corpus Christi has partnered with Ronald McDonald House to provide families during treatment with toys, meals, celebrations, and more.

When AutoNation heard that the charity was struggling due to COVID-19 funding shortages, they jumped in. A donation program is now in place in all eight local stores at point of purchase terminals, allowing customers to make donations with their credit cards easily. 100% of each contribution is sent directly to the Ronald McDonald House.

Joining the Movement

The dealerships highlighted here each innovatively employed programming, helping charities through chaotic times. As COVID-19 continues to limit charitable fundraising, they will continue to look for local business support. Dealerships can use these models as designs for their own plans to give back while positively connecting with their communities.

Related: Simple Actions Your Dealership Can Do To Give Back to the Community This Season


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Chana Perton
Chana Perton
Chana Perton is a contributing writer and investigative journalist for CBT News.

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