For a self storage operator, getting involved in community charity drives can be both rewarding for business and for the community. It can take some planning and time commitment, but the payoff most certainly means more rentals and a sense of satisfaction from helping out one’s community. There are some strategies for working with charities and community groups that can help smooth the planning process and bring the greatest reward.
Lorna Santos, manager of Lawai Cannery Self Storage of Kalaheo, Hawaii, has spearheaded many charitable efforts through her self storage facility and is most recently hosting a garage sale on June 17 to benefit the Kauai Special Olympics. The Special Olympics will get proceeds from the vendor-registration fees. In October 009, Santos provided free use of a storage unit to collect donations for Oceanit as part of a relief program after the earthquake-generated tsunami that struck the Samoan islands on Sept. 29.
There are guidelines to follow when choosing an organization to work with, beginning with hooking up with a cause that is close to your heart, whether that be related to breast cancer awareness, pet rescue, or “going green.” Other guidelines include:
• Choose a group that’s local, within a five-mile radius of the facility.
• Choose an organization that you feel comfortable with and inform yourself on the group’s mission, goals and dynamics. And realize that choosing a big group may require more time to develop a relationship than a smaller group.
• Look for a group that is active in the community which will help spread the good word about your facility.
After choosing a charity to work with, set up a meeting to discuss how you can help. Most organizations are always on the lookout for new volunteers and community partners. Formulate a plan of action, outlining what you can offer. Here are some ideas:
• Offer a free unit for a year for the group to store donated items, office supplies, etc.
• Allow the charity to host meetings in your conference room.
• Give a special discount to group employees and clients.
• Host a community fundraiser.
• Post the group’s information at your facility and on your website.
Planning can take about two months and having an onsite event will likely be the biggest time and financial commitments you’ll undertake when it comes to being involved in a charity. It can also bring in the most potential customers, both from those involved in the charities and citizens who come to contribute and participate, Hosting an event will increase exposure for your facility and get potential customers to visit your site, which increases the likelihood they will store with you.
“Lawai Cannery Self Storage Hosts Sale to Benefit Special Olympics.” Inside Self-Storage. July 13, 2011.
“Working With Charities and Hosting Community Events: Strategies and Benefits for Self-Storage Operators.” Inside Self-Storage. July 13, 2011.