This may be the season for giving, but did you know that there are benefits to giving back all year round? Small businesses rely heavily on customer loyalty and word of mouth to ensure continued success. By making an effort to engage and support your community in return, you set your pharmacy apart and show your appreciation for the community that has supported you over the years.
There are numerous things that small businesses can do throughout the year to help shower their community with some love – but that also won’t break the bank. Whether you want to go big with your outreach, or keep it small, below are six different ways your pharmacy can make a difference and give back to your community.
It is important to remember to tailor these suggestions to resonate with your community as some things may not apply to all geographies and demographics.
Let’s start big and work our way down.
Customer appreciation events Holding a customer appreciation event is going to require a higher budget than other forms of giving back, but oftentimes see a greater response. It is important to take the time to show your customers that you appreciate their business and want to thank them. The great thing about showing your appreciation is that you can come up with some fun and creative ways to say thank you. For example, we have helped clients launch a breakfast buffet event, an ice cream day, a car wash event, a tailgate before the local high school game, a taco-theme party, and more. Before planning your event, you will first need to make some preliminary decisions on the length, scope, and budget for it. For example, will your event be on a single day, over two-three days, or for all month long? Additionally, will you be serving a meal or refreshments, will you host screenings or seminars, give away prizes or goodie bags, offer product specials, hold a ribbon cutting or a fundraiser? Once you have a general idea of what you want to do, you will be able to get a better idea on what kind of budget you will need. Be sure to include costs for materials as well advertising.
Local sports or school sponsorships Schools, and local youth and adult sporting clubs are almost always looking for sponsors to help offset expenses for supplies, jerseys, facility maintenance, promotion, etc. Find something that matters to you and your team and make that your special way of supporting your community. Outside of basic monetary support, you can volunteer your time, like and share posts on social media, show your support by hanging up flyers/banners at the pharmacy, collecting donations from patients, donate supplies, or offer to host an event.
Holiday giveaways (fun or seasonal) When it comes to holiday giveaways, you aren’t limited to simply the end of the year. All year round there are fun and wacky days you can take advantage of to show your community the fun side of pharmacy. Below is something you can do each month to showcase your appreciation and have some fun.
January: National Bagel Day. Give out bagels to your customers with a note saying “We’re so grateful – have a bagel”
February: Valentine’s Day – Hand out carnations to everyone who comes in with a note saying “We LOVE our patients”
March: St Patrick’s Day – Dress up in green and post on your social media “We’re LUCKY to be a part of this community” and if they comment on your post they can be entered to win something.
April: Arbor Day – plant some trees in your community
May: National Nurses Day – send food to local hospitals thanking Nurses for their contribution
June: National Sunglasses Day – get some sunglasses with the pharmacy’s name on them and hand them out to customers
July: National Ice cream day – partner with a local ice cream shop to promote them and hand out coupons for their products
August: National Nonprofit Day – spend the month collecting donations for a local nonprofit
September – National cleanup day – volunteer your time cleaning up a part of your community
October – National Chocolate Day – give out chocolates to your patients or take the sweets to a local senior center
November – Thanksgiving – give away the fixings for a thanksgiving meal to a local family.
December – Become a partner for Santa for seniors, toys for tots, a salvation army donation spot, etc.
Social Media promotions Social media is a great avenue to get attention and reach your community, plus it is incredibly cost effective. Done right, you won’t have to spend a dime to build up your following and boost engagement. The key to social media is engagement – on YOUR end. Your community will only respond when they see things they like. If you aren’t posting, or replying, or engaging on your end – don’t expect to get anything in return. Quite a few pharmacies we work with designate a tech or cashier to manage social media because they can take a few minutes each day to post about a product, a team member, engage with patients and monitor the pages to ensure questions are getting answered.
The best posts on social media are the local ones. The posts that have your team and your community as the focus. Whether you are posting photos or videos, people like to see what they know and are significantly more likely to engage, than when posts aren’t personalized. Post team events, birthdays, anniversaries, product promotions, holiday parties, community involvement, as well as promotion of pharmacy products and services.
Support our furry friends Everyone loves their pets, so pick a month or two each year and hold a pet drive. Collect toys, food, money, and supplies for local pet shelters or humane societies. Additionally, you can work with a local shelter or humane society to host an adoption day to help pets find their forever homes. Alternatively, you can also collect donations to sponsor a dog to go through service training to help those who need support (such as veterans or disabled people). Food drives Local food centers usually need year-round support to feed their communities. Pick a month and host a canned food drive to support your local food bank or homeless shelter. You can collect goods or monetary donations from your patients and offer to match up to a certain amount. You can also volunteer your time to sort or distribute the food to those in need.
No matter how you decide to give back to your community, know that you are making an impact in the lives of those people who will support your business in return. By participating in these types of events, you are showing your community the difference that a locally owned, independent pharmacy can make – something chain pharmacies, Amazon, and other mail order pharmacies aren’t doing.