The Business Value of Serving as a Drop-Off Point for Food or Christmas Gifts

There's just a few more donation days before Christmas for your local food bank... or Toys for Tots, or Sub for Santa, or the Salvation Army’s Giving Tree... and this ad that appeared in a Walgreen sales flyer in late November made me wonder about the business value to a retailer or firm of serving as a drop-off point.

Here’s what I came up with:

Walgreens got a little positive publicity from the Ellen DeGeneres Show. You might get something similar in your local market if your local Giving Tree or Sub for Santa effort has media sponsorship.

New Sales
Walgreens put the ad on the same page as a spread of fairly inexpensive toys, the subconscious message being that if you’re of the mind to do so, you could just buy one or more of these toys and deposit it in the collection barrel.

Likewise, if you’re outlet is a grocery store, someone could certainly add a couple extra cans of tuna or chili con carne to their shopping cart and drop them off in the food bank’s bin on your way out.

Increased Foot Traffic
If your business is an insurance office or a dry cleaner or another kind of service-based storefront that doesn’t generate a lot of foot traffic, then you’d probably be well served by some kind of matching program. That is, “with every can of food you drop off at Acme Dry Cleaners, we’ll match it can for can.”

Once in your doors, you’d want to do couponing or sampling some other tactic to get people to come back to your business. As in, “Drop off an unwrapped toy at Salazar Brothers Insurance and we’ll give you a free smartphone calendar app that stores important birthdays, anniversaries, and other reminders, including when renewals are due.”

Engaging Your Employees I think there’s also value in enlisting support from your employees. Unless you have a well-developed internal distribution system, chances are someone from your office will probably have to collect the items and deliver them to the Salvation Army or Toys for Tots or the food bank.

If someone agrees to volunteer for a half-day or a day, pay them for their volunteer work. People love the sense that they’re valuable to your company. But even more people… Millennials especially… crave the feeling that they’re contributing to the greater good. People with a generous impulse want to volunteer, but extra time during the holidays is always in short supply. So if they can volunteer while on the clock, so much the better.

Associate Your Company With a Respected Nonprofit Brand
Everyone loves the Salvation Army. Pound for pound the Sally Ann is one of the most efficient and effective charities around. My local food bank is almost as highly esteemed in my community. Why wouldn't your company want to be associated with causes like that? Especially since your expense for doing so is almost nil. By making your storefront a drop-off point, you enjoy a small halo effect of being associated with a venerable charity.

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