This article concerns the benefits of getting out of the office and getting actively involved in your community. Whether it’s sponsoring your local little league team, encouraging your area’s children’s museum to do an eye screening or “Celebration of Smiles” dental-health day, you can make a positive contribution that solidifies your place in the community.
Many people volunteer with no expectation of anything in return, other than the personal sense of value, worth and integrity that comes from helping out their neighbors. You can feel great AND grow your practice through the word of mouth referrals that can come from this activity, making it easily worth the investment of your time and money.
One definition of public relations is “good works made well known.” Many practices try to do this through a variety of marketing methods, sometimes spending a substantial amount of money doing so. While we recommend lower cost and higher return internal marketing activities, we also help our clients look for community activities that not only help those involved, but also create goodwill for the practice. This is an excellent and inexpensive way to market a practice.
Larger companies understand how important it is to be active in their communities. Socially responsible companies build brand loyalty by sponsoring events and non-profit projects. People like to know that their money is going to a company that “walks the talk” and works to make the world a better place.
I’m sure you’ve seen many examples of this such as your local bank sponsoring charities or other non-profit activities in your area. This concept is no different for a doctor’s practice. Giving of your time, money and personnel to actively work with local causes is a terrific way to build loyalty among current and future patients. Many employees also report a greater sense of pride working for an office that is making a difference in their communities.
Some examples include: providing free emergency services or services in general for the underprivileged, donating finances and/or labor for local cleanup efforts, or manning bins at local food drives. The list goes on and on! Read your local newspaper or Craigslist to stay in touch with the types of activities that are going on in your area that you can contribute to, or think of your own, like offering free health screenings at libraries, schools, etc.
Larger companies do not miss the public relations benefit of being socially responsible, so why should your practice?
Ask your staff what sort of programs they would like to support. Your practice could donate time at a local summer fair doing a food drive. This type of project can be a bit more involved in terms of time and commitment, but has a huge impact in the community. The staff can wear t-shirts with the practice’s name on it for extra marketing value.
Although a community depends on the private practice for daily healthcare, the private practice also depends on the community for its livelihood. So, whether it is by financial contribution or by personal effort, get out there and get involved! The returns will be felt by everyone in the practice.
As Hot Tips is read by over 10,000 subscribers every month, this Hot Tip is dedicated to those people that are active in their communities doing what they can to help.