6+ ways to get involved in your community for franchises

December 27, 2023
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Looking for ideas to get involved in your community for franchises? You’re in the right place! Giving back and getting involved with the local community provides invaluable benefits for franchise brands of all sizes. As a trusted neighborhood name, strategic community engagement allows franchises to build goodwill, raise brand awareness organically, and position themselves as positive corporate citizens. There are many tangible ways for franchises to get involved in the community for franchises they operate in.

Community involvement initiatives catalyze word-of-mouth marketing as customers see your brand positively impacting causes they care about. Supporting local nonprofits and events also leads to media and PR opportunities, highlighting your commitment to community growth. This drives brand affinity and preference with consumers when it comes time to make a purchase decision.

While acts of community involvement should be motivated by genuine altruism, the reality is that it also boosts a local franchise’s bottom line. Here are 6+ impactful ways franchise brands can get involved in the community for franchises they serve.

get involved in your community for franchises: food drive

Partner with local charities and causes

One powerful way to get involved in your community for franchises is by partnering with charitable organizations and causes that are relevant to your brand values and customer demographic. This may include local chapters of national nonprofits or grassroots community groups.

Great partners are charities that align to your franchise’s mission and expertise. For restaurants, that could mean fighting food insecurity and hunger through food bank drives. Gyms can promote youth health and wellness. Auto shops can keep kids safe through car seat installation checks.

There are countless ways to collaborate:

  • Sponsor signature charity events with in-kind or financial donations
  • Provide volunteers and operational support for walks, runs, fundraisers
  • Donate a portion of sales year-round to the charity
  • Set up customer donation programs to collect funds at the point of sale

The key is choosing community partners that resonate both with your brand values and your core customer base. That ensures community involvement initiatives will get traction and awareness. Consistent partnership also demonstrates an ongoing commitment to causes, not just one-off donations.

Host community events

The next way to get involved in your community for franchises is to host community events. Hosting special events at your franchise location is a great way to engage residents, drive foot traffic, and introduce more people to your brand. These community events can take many forms to connect with local families and organizations.

Some impactful examples include:

  • Kids activities days: Provide fun programming just for local children one afternoon. This could include crafts, games, photo booths, and refreshments to create a memorable and family-friendly event.
  • Open houses: Invite community members into your location to demo products/services, ask questions, and learn more about the business first-hand. This builds familiarity and comfort with your brand.
  • Local gatherings: If you have meeting spaces, open up venue rentals for everything from Girl Scout meetups to fantasy football draft parties for neighborhood folks. Discounted pricing encourages community engagement.
  • Food drives: Set up drop-off boxes and engage customers to donate items to stock the shelves of local food pantries. Friendly competition between locations drives larger collection numbers, and the community impact is invaluable.

The key principles to keep in mind when hosting community events are:

  • Ensure the programming aligns seamlessly with your brand values and personality. The activity should feel organic and on-brand.
  • Target demographics who live and work nearby. Hyper-local outreach drives the most attendance and engagement.
  • Promote the event across all your franchise location’s marketing channels, including social media, website, email, and in-store displays.

Get involved in your community for franchises through community events drives positive exposure and fosters goodwill with meaningful relationship building. Customers remember brands who care about their community’s health and growth beyond dollars and cents. That sentiment translates to higher loyalty and sales over time.

Support local sports teams

Local youth and school sports teams provide the perfect avenue to get involved in your community for franchises. Families with kids in sports have high community visibility and engagement, making them influential brand advocates. Sports partnerships also reinforce positive values like leadership, teamwork, dedication, and perseverance.

There are creative ways franchises can support local athletics, including:

  • Sponsor recreational leagues: Cover sign-up fees or equipment costs in exchange for brand exposure as the “official sponsor”. This could include tee ball teams, soccer clubs, swimming leagues, or lacrosse associations.
  • Donate to high school teams: Provide funding, resources, or gear to school athletic departments and teams. Popular options are donating new uniforms, supplies for concession stands, or equipment for the weight room.
  • Offer student & family discounts: Provide discounted pricing or promotions to sports families to showcase support and make your product/service more accessible. Discounts for athletes, parents, and siblings go a long way.
  • Host team nights: Invite sports teams to your location for a celebratory meal, excitement around a big game, or end-of-season party. This allows a venue for positive team bonding.

The key to effectively supporting youth athletics is engaging entire families through relevant programming. Get creative with fundraising nights, special promotions, or team sponsorship opportunities. You can be consistent as you get involved in your community for franchises. It builds brand affinity with sports families that pays dividends for years to come.

restaurant space

Offer venue for community use

For franchises with physical locations and meeting spaces, providing complimentary or discounted access for community groups is an impactful way to get involved locally. Enabling clubs, nonprofits, schools, and other groups to leverage your spaces demonstrates goodwill and builds community connections.

There are many ways to open up your rooms and venues:

  • Host club and hobby group meetings like chess clubs, car enthusiasts, gardening groups, book clubs, or sports fan clubs. Discounted rental fees allow more regular usage.
  • Let community nonprofits use your conference rooms, event spaces, or outdoor areas for fundraisers, awareness campaigns, member events, and annual meetings. Complimentary usage is encouraged.
  • Open up your location for school-related initiatives like tutoring sessions, parent-teacher conferences, band rehearsals, or ACT prep classes. Affordable rates make venues accessible.
  • Consider religious groups who may need gathering spaces like bible study meetings or choir practice.
  • During holidays, invite carolers or performers to utilize your location and engage customers.

The opportunities to offer your square footage for community activities are endless, ultimately raising visibility of your brand and foot traffic to stores. Establish clear guidelines around scheduling, costs, liability, staff involvement, and other logistics before launching an official community usage program. However embracing locals with open doors fosters goodwill that pays dividends through positive word-of-mouth.

Encourage employees to volunteer

A final impactful way to get involved in your community for franchises is through formal employee volunteering programs. Organizing staff volunteering events, providing paid time off, and celebrating service amplifies community impact.

Tactics include:

  • Host quarterly “Days of Service” where locations close and employees volunteer together at nonprofit partners on improvement projects.
  • Set guidelines for X hours of paid time off annually for volunteer work such as skills-based pro bono projects.
  • Sponsor volunteer trips for ambitious service immersion experiences like Habitat for Humanity builds or overseas community development projects.
  • Highlight employees’ volunteering efforts externally and internally with features in email newsletters, on social channels, and through internal recognition.
  • Institute volunteer grant programs that issue dollars per volunteer hour for employees to direct to their favorite local causes.

Rallying staff around community initiatives generates excitement, purpose, and camaraderie in your workforce. It also showcases your franchise purpose beyond profits with media and public relations opportunities. Encourage volunteering at all levels of the company, leading from an executive level.

Volunteers cleaning up trash and litter

More ways to get involved

The opportunities for franchises to make a positive community impact are endless. Consider these additional creative ideas to get involved in your community for franchises:

  • Sponsor community gardens by providing space, volunteers, tools, and other agriculture resources
  • Organize litter clean-up days to beautify neighborhoods and build goodwill
  • Host emergency preparedness workshops to educate locals and distribute safety kits
  • Display student and senior art in stores through rotating exhibits
  • Participate in restaurant week fundraisers by offering special prix fixe menus
  • Provide free air conditioning and device charging stations during summer heat waves
  • Partner with schools on reading incentive programs with donated books and prizes
  • Host pet adoption events by working with local shelters and rescue organizations
  • Set up community fridges/food pantries with extra produce and bakery items

The most sustainable community initiatives align with the inherent capabilities and assets of your franchise brand. Take stock of your locations, geographic footprint, customer base, and staff skillsets. Brainstorm programs that logically fit into existing operations to make execution simple long-term.

Get involved in your community for franchises

Creating shared value between profitable franchise operations and community impact should be a key priority. While driving sales and performance numbers, brands can simultaneously improve neighborhoods through local involvement.

The opportunities highlighted in this article—from partnerships with charitable causes to staff volunteering programs—are tangible ways to make an impact beyond the bottom line.

Engage your own franchises in assessing community needs, meeting with nonprofits to ideate partnership opportunities, and brainstorming signature outreach initiatives. Consistent involvement in the community for franchises serves pays dividends for years down the road in the form of customer loyalty, talent retention and higher growth.

Check out these great podcast episodes about serving in the community: 

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