Community giving

Building Goodwill Through Community Work: Insight from San Diego Self Storage

Community support is a great way for self-storage operators to build relationships and garner new business. Read how San Diego Self Storage gets involved, and the positive impact such work has on company employees and markets. Perhaps you’ll get ideas for your own endeavors!

San Diego Self Storage (SDSS), which operates 17 facilities in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties, has been serving the area since 1972. Over the years, the company’s managing partners have remained deeply committed to the community with ongoing support for nonprofits and other organizations. Following are several examples of SDSS efforts and how this generosity affects employees and the neighborhoods they serve. Perhaps they’ll inspire you with fresh ideas for your own grassroots efforts!

Toy Drives

For more than 20 years, SDSS facilities have served as official collection sites for the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program. Last year, the company gathered more than 17,000 toys. It also lended its moving trucks to pick up and deliver donations.

During each annual campaign, there’s fierce competition among SDSS properties to see which will collect the most toys. Staff also enjoy reaching out to nearby businesses and encouraging donations. When employees serve as leaders to rally the neighborhood around a good cause, it makes a statement about the type of company they represent.

Food Drives

This is the third year that SDSS has hosted a food drive for the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. “Of San Diego County’s 3.3 million residents, 494,439 people face food insecurity every day,” according to the food bank website. “Of this number, 164,137 are children. Food insecurity means that little or no food is available at home, and those who are food-insecure do not know how they will get their next meal.”

Each May, SDSS locations serve as a collection points. The food bank also hosts an online platform through which customers and friends can pledge monetary donations.

Employees get personally involved in the effort. For example, Benjamin Martinez, the 11-year-old son of Karina Martinez, an assistant manager at the Encinitas location, turned to his school for help with the drive during its first year. When the school’s response wasn't quick enough, he decided to reach out to his neighbors on his own. A member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 748, he dressed up in his uniform and started knocking on doors. He was surprised at how eagerly his neighbors gave to the cause. When folks didn’t have items in their pantry at the time of his visit, some dropped off goods on his porch.

Benjamin’s enthusiasm is contagious. SDSS staff, customers, neighbors and friends all work hard to make the annual drive a success.

Community Giving Project

In 2015, SDSS decided to increase its charitable contributions by creating its Community Giving Project. The goal was to find a way for the individual facility teams to develop meaningful ties in their communities. Each site is provided with $500 to donate to a local charity. It’s up to the staff to coordinate the donation, which includes a check-presentation ceremony.

All the recipients are featured in the SDSS monthly newsletter, which is distributed to nearly 18,500 customers, neighbors and friends. This provides additional exposure for the charity and encourages more donations.

The SDSS teams have contributed to a variety of philanthropies, with children and animals topping the list. They fight cancer, contribute to local history and humanitarian efforts, and positively impact job training, arts programs, women’s issues and more.

As the teams have researched and discovered beneficiaries, many members have become more involved. In the first year of the project, Cristhian Gironas, facility manager for Butterfield Ranch Self Storage [BRSS] in Temecula, decided to contribute to the Champions Division, a local baseball league for children with mental and physical disorders, where he was serving as a volunteer coach. The league was struggling to get organized, and the SDSS donation allowed it to expand and welcome more players.

Gironas also secured a sponsorship for another Temecula Youth Baseball team he coached, the Pony Division for youth ages 13 and 14. He asked SDSS if his facility could support the team.

“Since being sponsored, we have won five championship titles in five seasons. The Butterfield Ranch Self Storage name is associated with winning, but more important, with helping the youth of our city. BRSS now has over 60 customers who are either parents, grandparents, family or friends of the players I coached,” Gironas says. “Along with the sponsorship of the team, BRSS receives the marketing value of being in the local paper and listed on the Temecula Youth Baseball website. The facility received a ton of praise in our community.”

In February, BRSS was invited to attend the Temecula Chamber of Commerce Annual Gala as a nominee for the “Bronze Business of the Year” award. It was the first year the facility was nominated. While the honor went to another business, the recognition was meaningful for everyone, and the BRSS staff received compliments and encouragement for next year’s awards.

Creating Camaraderie

The Community Giving Project has done more than provide financial help. It has brought coworkers closer together, and provided education about local charities that are doing terrific work. Most facilities have chosen a different organization to support each year, which speaks to the dedication of the staff and their desire to make a meaningful contribution.

“SDSS is dedicated to both the professional and the personal development of our employees. The Community Giving Project encourages our managers and staff to learn about their local community and to serve as leaders. Giving back to the community feels good,” says Kraig Haviland, director of operations.

Granting staff responsibility has been the key to success. “It gives our team members a sense of pride in their local community … and pride in San Diego Self Storage,” Haviland says. “Many of our employees express their joy of working for our company because we’re dedicated to community involvement and giving back.”

Because of the company’s strong, ongoing presence and staff involvement, San Diegans recognize the business genuinely cares about the community and the people in it.

Shanna Bright is the founder of marketing company Bright Life Media, and San Diego Self Storage is one of her favorite clients. Founded in 1972, the company operates 17 self-storage facilities in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties. Since 2015, it has been named the “Best Storage Facility” every year in the “Best of San Diego Reader’s Poll,” sponsored by the “San Diego Union Tribune.” For more information, call 858.909.0090; visit www.sandiegoselfstorage.com

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