How to Ensure a Return on Community Donations

June 1, 2006
Do you find yourself confronted with a variety of community groups and organizations asking for donations? Its a problem for any business. You want to

Do you find yourself confronted with a variety of community groups and organizations asking for donations? It’s a problem for any business. You want to be a good community partner, but you’ve also got a business to run. You act on the belief that supporting community organizations generates goodwill and ultimately, sales.

Don’t be ashamed of wanting a return from charitable donations and sponsorships. If you fail to generate a profit, you won’t be able to do anyone any good.

You write the check, but you wonder, “Am I throwing money away?” Robert Wilkos at Peaden Air Conditioning in Panama City, FL, knows. His approach is brilliant!

Whenever anyone approaches Robert asking for money, he tells them to write down what they want and how they are going to use it . . . plus, write down the names and addresses of three Peaden customers. He then tells them he will check the names in their customer database and get back to them with the amount of money they will contribute.

Think about this for a second. Not only does it ensure that Robert is making donations to groups that support Peaden, but it stimulates sales.

The first thing that happens is there’s a scramble to find out who in their organization is a Peaden customer. Everyone is talking about Peaden.

Next, when someone in the organization needs air conditioning in the future, Peaden’s got an automatic edge. They remember that they need Peaden customers to get money. If they don’t remember, I’ll bet there’s someone reminding them.

Robert says that word’s gotten around his market about the policy. It’s not uncommon for people to approach him now with a list of customers in hand.

This is Comanche Marketing at its finest. Depending on whose numbers you use, it costs between $200 and $250 to acquire new service customers. For a $200 partial sports sponsorship, Peaden keeps existing customers, and he captures new ones. Plus, he generates grassroots buzz about his company within the organization seeking money.

Matt Michel is president of the Service Roundtable (, an organization dedicated to helping contractors prosper. Matt is also the publisher of Comanche Marketing, a free marketing e-zine. Subscriptions are available at You can contact him directly at [email protected]. Or send your comments to Contracting Business at [email protected].
About the Author

Matt Michel | Chief Executive Officer

Matt Michel was a co-founder and CEO of the Service Roundtable ( The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. The Service Nation Alliance is a part of this overall organization. Matt was inducted into the Contracting Business HVAC Hall of Fame in 2015. He is now an author and rancher.