I saw a post on Facebook the other day that said something like, “Amazon and Target don’t sponsor your local little league team. Shop local.” I couldn’t agree more. I do love me some Target shopping, but I really do shop local whenever I can. Hitch Studio supports the community and the community supports us. It’s a fulfilling ecosystem.
Hitch Studio sponsors organizations ranging from Habitat for Humanity and North Central CASA, to Women in Leadership and Learning (WILL) and the local university (SDSU). We’ve held events where children can make birthday cards for other kids and then we donate the art supplies to the charity in need. It fills our hearts to give back to the community that has supported our small business and helped us grow. Plus, we have skills at Hitch that allow us to donate time, talent, and treasure. We are graphic designers, website designers, event decorators, and have a retail store in downtown Brookings. So, when we can’t help with design or decorations, we can donate items for a raffle, auction, door prize, etc.
Reasons it’s important to give back to your community as a small business owner:
- It feels good to give back. It makes you a valued and visible member of your community — doing great things. You’re part of what makes that community special.
- The sponsorship usually comes with your logo on something — signage, presentation slides, printed program, t-shirt, etc. That means visibility in front of your target audience. And that’s exactly where you want to be — doing your best work in front of your target demographic.
- You can showcase your talents or products in person. You’re bringing your products to THEM instead of waiting for them to come into YOUR door. For example, I would much rather have my decorations on a table at an event, making that event even more special for the attendees and sponsored group, than sitting in our storage room. Who knows…maybe the decorations on a table sparks some business for a graduation party, a corporate Christmas party, or even a wedding. I’d rather show people in person what our products and services look like than just another print ad or radio ad. I want them to SEE it and TOUCH it. (No offense to print ads or radio ads. We use both!)
- Donated work can become paid work. Open your heart by giving back on one occasion and it may open doors at a later time. Maybe they ask you to join their board where you’ll meet tons of people who could use your paid services. Maybe someone on the organization committee loves your work so much that they hire you to work for their company.
One tip when giving back: Prioritize your giving. Set a limit. Set standards and criteria that each request needs to meet before you’ll consider giving away a piece of your paycheck. Here’s how Hitch Studio handles the requests: We made a list of the qualifications the asking organization needs to have for us to consider giving back. For us, it’s women, children, education, and art. If the charitable giving has anything to do with these four criteria (because that’s what fills our hearts), then they qualify to move to step two. Every charity is so worthy of donations, but you can’t possibly give to every organization and fundraiser that asks or you would give away your entire business. We also have a 5-star system for the donation requests that do pass our criteria. We rank each of these questions with 1-5 points: how many people will it reach, does it reach our target market, does it build rapport with a customer, does it fill our hearts, and was the request form completed correctly. Finally, we set a budget for this charitable giving. Decide an amount of money or value right away for how much you’re willing to donate and stick to it. EVERYBODY will ask you for donations. We’re talking everybody. Remember to be generous with your time, talent and treasure in ways that fill you, though. In life, you get what you give. But stick to your limits.
“It is one of the beautiful compensations in this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Take a look at the centerpieces we styled for the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Jackrabbit Athletic Scholarship Auction. We were thrilled to give back to the school where Carrie and I both graduated (and most of our employees did too!)
We also give back to SDSU by speaking to many of the hospitality management classes and entrepreneurial classes for free. We donate our time because it fits our “education” mission. If you’re interested in filling out a request, click here to do so.
Or contact Hitch Studio if you’d like to hire us to decorate your next event. 🙂 You get what you give — and we hope it’s meaningful.