Americans are generous by nature. When disaster strikes, we are swift to put aside political differences and competitive rivalries and pitch in to help. That’s the stuff we are made of. Here are some ways your dealership can help.
Decide How to Help
Money is probably the greatest need because it pays for everything else. It’s easy to collect and easy to send. As for taking donations from your employees, simply have your department leaders talk with the people that report to them and see what they would like to give.
You can give your customers a chance to help too. Set up a collection sign in your showroom and designate somebody to take the donations, and to say thank you. Your service writers could each have a donation sign at their posts too. Don’t forget your biggest advantage – you are a customer to other businesses. Ask each of your vendors to pitch in too.
Decide Who You Want to Give To
It’s usually best to donate to organizations that are politically neutral, because you will be asking people of all types to contribute. That’s why the Red Cross turns up so often in the news as a big recipient of donations.
The NADA has a foundation that collects money specifically to help dealership employees. Many people, though, feel for suffering animals, so they will want their donations to go the SPCA in the affected areas. The more choices you offer people the more they will respond.
Make it Easy to Donate
Payroll deduction is good. Rather than passing a jar to collect cash, make it easy for your employees to give by automatic payroll deduction. Rather than simply donating a ten-dollar bill, some might prefer to give ten dollars per week for five weeks. You get the idea.
Give Them Time to Donate
A one-day collection is not as good as a two-week campaign. That’s especially true for those who want to consult their spouses before agreeing to a multi-week payroll deduction.
Keep it Simple
If you want to include as many people as possible forget about promising them a tax deduction for donating. Many more people will donate five or ten dollars to a cause then those who will give hundreds. Make it easy for them to donate small amounts by cash, check or by credit card. People who give small amounts are probably not expecting a tax-deductible receipt anyway.
For larger donations, you can simply accept a check made out to the charity of the donor’s choice, and then send the check to the charity. After that, it’s up to the charity to send a receipt to the individual donor for their tax records.
Make it Fun – Be a Leader
In crisis situations people look for leadership. They expect it from you. You could offer to match every dollar that comes in up to a certain amount. If you are feeling generous you could match without any limit. You will feel good about it, too, as do all the people who give to help.