About this time every year, my daughter is conflicted about going back to school. Like most kids, she misses the social aspect, but dreads the thought of homework, tests and sitting in a classroom for the better part of the day. In the next few weeks, she and I will spend countless hours getting ready for the first day of school. There will be clothes and shoe shopping, a new haircut and, of course, school supplies.
Fortunately, I’m in a place that I can provide these things, but many parents aren’t. That’s where you come in. As a self-storage operator, you have an opportunity to lend a hand during the mad back-to-school rush. These opportunities are similar to the many charity drives we see during the holidays, but rather than collecting toys and games for the kids, you’re making sure they have the tools they need to do well in school.
Earlier this week, Ash Properties launched a “Back 2 School Supply Drive.” The company is collecting donations at all 45 of its Atlantic Self Storage facilities in Florida. In addition, Ash created partnerships with several local businesses to act as drop-off sites. The drive was spearhead by company principal Elaine Ashourian. “We are committed to ensuring kids have the supplies [they] need to succeed throughout First Coast communities and across campuses of local schools.”
As with any charitable cause, there are a number of ways you can get involved. Here are a few ideas:
Host a donation drive. This would be similar to Atlantic’s efforts. It can be done on a small or large scale. For example, your effort might include setting out boxes in your office and encouraging tenants to make donations. Be sure to send current and past customers an email about the campaign. You might even offer an incentive, such as a free box for every donated backpack.
Work with a school or other organization. If you’re not interested in spearheading your own campaign, look for a partner. This could be a national or local organization, church or even a school. There are numerous “stuff the bus” campaigns happening right now. Check your paper’s community section or call the local school district to see when and where you can make a donation or even volunteer. There may even be sponsorship opportunities.
Make a cash donation. Finally, consider offering a cash donation to a school or charity collecting school donations. No amount is too small. You can even set out a jar and encourage tenants to add their spare change.
Also, keep in mind that schools generally need supplies throughout the year. And think beyond paper and pencils. Sports equipment, hygiene products such as tissues and hand sanitizer, and even gift cards for special occasions are all appreciated. Similarly, there may also be opportunities for clothing and shoe drives, or other ways you can help your community.
We all know giving back is just good business. Hosting or participating in a school-supply drive is an excellent way to become more involved in your community and show your tenants that you care. It also offers networking opportunities and will generate good vibes around your brand.
Are you hosting or participating in a back-to-school or other charitable drive? Share your story below or on Self-Storage Talk.