by Stacy Zemon
Encouraging your DJs and other staff members to volunteer can improve morale and attract new business. Getting involved with a non-profit or charitable organization in your community can also expose your company to potential clients in your area, maximizing your return on investment.
Choosing the Right Organization
No matter what your personal interests are, you need to make sure your staff has a vested interest in whatever volunteer program you choose.
When it comes to staying true to your brand, ask yourself what resources you already have at your disposal and what your clients ultimately care about. If your customers believe in the cause you’re supporting, they may be more likely to stick with you and spread the word to other like-minded potential clients.
To get the program started, consider sending out a survey to your staff. Ask whether or not they would be interested in volunteering and, if so, what organizations they’d be interested in volunteering with.
Once you have taken branding and employee interest into consideration, focus on the needs of the community. As you vet potential non-profits to work with, ask yourself two questions: does this organization make a big difference in this community and will my company be able to make a big difference in the organization?
The more you and the non-profit you work with see eye-to-eye, the more likely your program will work. Tell the organizations about your business goals and your community goals, then ask them what they want volunteers to achieve.
With all of this information in mind, you’re almost ready to make a decision, but first, you need to think about the level of involvement you want your company to have.
Levels of Involvement
The amount of time your employees will spend on volunteering is a huge consideration. After all, time is money. Decide how much time you can afford to devote to volunteerism, and you will narrow down your search significantly.
How about starting a company softball team? If you don’t have enough DJs and support staff you could also include spouses and significant others. When your team plays against other company teams and members of the media, the proceeds from ticket sales are contributed to one or more charities.
There is also nothing wrong with throwing a one-day event. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity are totally built for employee volunteering, but remember to keep your goals in mind. Will a quick gig give your employees that feeling of fulfillment for the whole year? Will it build loyalty to the program? Will it give you the community presence you’re looking for?
If you answer “no” to any of these questions, ask the non-profit about ways the company can stay involved after that single volunteer day. Could you hold the event every quarter instead of every year? Remember, volunteering can be a crucial team-building strategy, and as any business owner knows, it takes time to build a team.
Generating Some Buzz
Before the event, send out e-mails to your staff to create buzz and explain your plans well in advance. Bring members of the organization in during a DJ meeting to talk to everyone about their needs and how what you are planning will help to achieve them.
Ask your staffers to take lots of pictures and to report back, so you can celebrate their work on the company’s e-newsletter and at a staff meeting.
If you do work with a non-profit, ask that they include your company’s activities in all press releases and marketing materials related to the event – and also that they follow-up with you and explain the impact the company had. This will help you keep the momentum for the program alive until the next event rolls around.
Resources to Get Started
The HandsOn Network offers tools and tips on starting a volunteer program, and their HandsOn Action Centers can even help you design the programs themselves. United Way can help you find relevant volunteering opportunities in your community.
How does your DJ service contribute to the local community, and what benefits has your staff received from doing so?
Publisher & Chief Scribe
Stacy Zemon is a self-described serial entrepreneur (Equal parts creativity and business). She is a distinguished industry leader who is widely considered an authority on the DJ business. Stacy is a veteran disc jockey, writer for DJ Times magazine and author of the world’s best-selling DJ books. For the complete story about Stacy’s career, click here. To check out Stacy’s copywriting and business consulting services, click here. You can write to her c/o Stacy@ProMobileDJ.com.