How Cause Marketing is Good for Your Community and Your Business
With all of the day-to-day duties home services providers have in serving their customers, it can be hard to imagine finding the time to do volunteer work or support causes. However, incorporating a corporate social responsibility program or cause marketing as part of your marketing plan can have a positive impact in your community AND help you grow your home services business significantly.
According to an article in Air Conditioning Heating Refrigeration (ACHR) News 1, volunteering for or donating to a local charity can help you stand apart from the competition. “This is an opportunity for you to associate your brand with the things people care about in your community.”
Here is even more evidence that cause marketing works:
- 91% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that supports social or environmental issues.
- 81% of consumers say brands must earn their trust.
- 28% of consumers will publicly praise a company when their personal beliefs align with what brands are saying.
- 64% of Americans choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on its stand on societal issues.
Source: Cause Marketing Statistics 2023 Report
Here are five ways to achieve “Corporate Social Responsibility,” a phrase that simply means how you can genuinely “do good and be socially and environmentally conscious,” which will also pay off for your business:
1) Offer assistance during emergencies or natural disasters.
Your technicians often show up on a really difficult day for your customers. Whether it’s a flooded basement, no heat or air conditioning, or a broken appliance, you know that treating your customers well when there is an emergency can lead to positive reviews, repeat business, and good referrals.
What if your company provided support during a disaster in your community?
One of the contractors in the Homeowners Services Group Provider Network, Plumb Genius L.L.C., immediately donated bottled water and snacks to a local community center in the aftermath of severe storms in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area that left more than 200,000 residents without power. The Reed Park Community Center stated that this donation was the most anyone had ever given to them, keeping their center supplied for several days. They thanked and acknowledged Plumb Genius for caring for the residents in the community.
You don’t have to wait until your community is facing an emergency or natural disaster. Having a corporate social responsibility program that supports national and local charities can yield dividends for years to come, including building your company reputation as one that cares about your community and supports causes that help those less fortunate.
2) Sponsor local events with a charity or nonprofit organization.
Local events, especially those that are considered “signature events” in your community, are making a comeback with more consumers attending than ever. Whether it is a music festival, wine or beer festival, or pet event, consider partnering with a local charitable organization (a new one or one you already support) to share a booth. This may draw more consumers to hear about the charity and your business instead of avoiding your booth because they do not want to hear a sales pitch.
It’s a terrific way to showcase your corporate social responsibility efforts with the charity, whether it is time, equipment, or money, and encourage others visiting the booth to support the cause. This will leave a lasting impression on those you interact with at your booth and many of those consumers could become lifelong customers.
3) Partner with your OEM suppliers to leverage their causes.
Check with your equipment suppliers to see what charities they are involved with, and how home service providers like you can leverage those efforts to benefit the nonprofit and your company. For example, Carrier is a supporter of Habit for Humanity, a charity that is certainly in the “sweet spot” for plumbers, electricians, heating and cooling contractors, and appliance providers.
“The Home is the Key campaign is designed to inspire individuals and businesses to donate to Habitat for Humanity during the month of April to help more families build a decent, affordable place to call home.”
According to Justin Keppy, President, NA Residential & Light Commercial for Carrier, dealers are important participants in their events: “In addition to the many fundraising and awareness efforts we have planned, we are engaging our employees and distributor and dealer networks to support this campaign.”
Your business can benefit from the publicity and marketing efforts of both the manufacturer and the charity on a greater scale than your business can do on its own.
4) Support your employees’ causes and charities.
Attracting and retaining employees continues to be a challenge for many home service providers. One way you can show both your office staff and your technicians that you care about them is to support the organizations that they care about, including:
- Find out what local and national charities or nonprofit organizations your employees support. Develop an incentive program for employees that ties in a donation to the charity or organization of choice. For example, if you have an employee of the month or year, sales contests, or other employee recognition programs, you can give a donation to the employee’s favorite charity in their name.
- Match employee donations to their selected charities
- Provide paid volunteer day(s) each year for employees to spend working with their favorite cause.
Get creative. Encouraging your employees to do good and supporting their causes can create a positive environment, improve morale, and increase retention.
5) Get involved with local schools and clubs to promote careers in home services trades.
With many technicians in the home services trades reaching retirement age, it is imperative that the various industries engage in ways to attract more younger workers. For example, a blog from Nationwide Insurance noted the following about plumbing jobs:
“According to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the plumber job outlook is estimated to increase by 5% over the next 10 years. And with industry-specific growth outpacing employment averages, finding qualified workers is likely to be a major concern for plumbers. This issue is particularly concerning as a growing proportion of the workforce reaches retirement age.”
- Reaching young people and educating them about the home services trades and career opportunities is vital to your business. Speak at career days at local schools (elementary, middle, and high schools) or present at local scout troop or other club meetings.
- Partner with community colleges, trade schools, veteran services, and workforce development programs. Many of these programs combine classroom and on the job training, along with offering students and veterans an opportunity to transition to full time with local employers upon graduation. Veterans and participants in these programs are often grateful for the opportunity to work and can become some of your best employees.
Whether you are looking to hire electricians, plumbers, or heating and cooling technicians, your participation in these education and training programs can help you identify and hire well-trained young technicians and staff to ensure you have quality employees to support your customers.
Corporate social responsibility or cause marketing is an important strategy for every business. For small businesses, it is essential to stand out from your competition, enhance your reputation, and build trust in the community and with your customers.
Do you have a community program or volunteer story to tell? We’d love to hear from you! Please post it on the Oncourse Home Solutions LinkedIn account or you can use our online Contact form to send us your story. We may feature your story in a future blog or social media post!
1 Air Conditioning Heating Refrigeration (ACHR) News can be found at achrnews dot com (paid content).