Without the service of military members we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the freedoms and luxuries that are often taken for granted. As a business owner, there are many things you can do that require very little effort to show your appreciation.
It is more than likely this has never crossed your mind, and there is nothing wrong with that, but once you see how easily you could incorporate a way to help, it’s more than likely something you will do and make a regular occurrence.
To help with some ideas, we surveyed several business leaders and asked for their ideas, and we were able to come up with a list that we are sure will give you some great ideas. Here are some suggestions to help you find a way to support the service members in your local community.
Offer jobs to returning service members.
“One of the most difficult parts of returning from duty or retiring from active service is transitioning into the workforce. Not only are ex-military amazing workers because of their work ethic, but you would be doing a great service helping them transition.
It’s a win-win situation, as you are providing a job, yet you are also gaining an employee that will work hard and perform at a high level. You can coordinate with local community groups that help with job placement and make sure that they contact you when they have a good match. This is a great way to attract top quality talent.” – Christopher Kerr, VP Marketing at Earnhardt Lexus
Donate a portion of sales to local organizations.
“Most communities have several organizations, specifically for veterans and ex-military, and they are always in need of financial contributions to remain operational. You can offer a percentage of sales to the group on an on-going basis or have certain days that are dedicated to providing a financial contribution to them.
For example, a restaurant could donate a percentage of all lunch sales on Tuesday’s. This is a great marketing tool and it helps to put your business in front of a new potential customers. It’s also a great way to attract local media attention. The attention you can draw from this gesture can payoff ten-fold in positive branding.” – Paul Kelly, 247 CCTV Security Ltd
Start a charitable fund for a fallen soldier’s family.
“One of the harsh realities is that fact that many families lose loved ones due to tragedies. This can often lead to single-parent households and children without a parent. Along with the emotional difficulties comes financial troubles.
You can easily set up a trust fund or charitable organization that helps out local families that experience a tragic loss. The fund can be used to pay for living expenses, children’s birthday parties or even education. You can self-fund it with a portion of sales or ask customers to donate also.” – Ignacio Soria, CEO of Cann & Co.
Provide a military discount.
“This is something that requires zero effort, and apart from being a nice gesture, it’s a marketing play that can help you attract new customers that are introduced to your business because they heard that you offer a discount to military members.
The military community is very close and they like to support the companies that show them support. Something as simple as a 10% military discount can drive sales and help attract new customers, to the point that the discount itself is irrelevant and the gained sales are well worth it. So, not only do you get to offer something nice to those that deserve it, but it results in business growth.” – Chris Moberg, President of Slumber Search
Have an event that donates a portion of sales to the local veteran organization.
“Want to contribute to a good cause, attract local attention within your community, and watch your sales shoot through the roof? Coordinate an event that donates a percentage of sales with a local veteran or military organization. You will find that they are very well connected to local media and will get the event coverage on local TV and radio, as well as print.
You also get access to the organization’s member list. The act as a marketing arm for the event, as they benefit based on your sales, so it’s in their best interest to drive as much awareness (and sales) as possible for you.”- Michael Herron, Law Offices of Michael R. Herron
Sponsor holiday themed events for service member families.
“The holiday season is when we hear the most of military themed fund raisers and special events. A lot of businesses tend to use this time to host and sponsor events because it’s when there is the most consumer attention. While sponsoring an event is a great cause, a business needs to receive some benefit.
If not, they will not participate in the future. Not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t financially if there is no return. Look for local holiday events geared towards families and inquire about becoming an event sponsor. You are likely to find a way to become involved at different financial commitment levels.” – Pat Skinner of AnswerFirst
Become a Toys for Tots drop off location.
“One of the most widely popular military charities is the Toys for Tots program. It’s national and they do a great job of providing toys to less fortunate children every year. If you have a physical brick and mortar business, whether office or retail, you can become an official Toys for Tots drop off location. You simply allow toys to be dropped off, store them, and then wait for the organizers to come pick them up.
It’s a great way to get people to walk through your doors and you also support a great cause that puts a smile on the face of children. It’s a charity that the military community is very proud of.” – Hyung Park, President of Abraham Lincoln University
Organize local networking events to help returning service members ease into civilian jobs.
“Want to help returning service members land jobs in the local community even if you don’t currently have any job openings to offer? You can easily organize or sponsor a local event, invite those seeking jobs and allow hiring companies to come and network and speak to potential candidates.
You can also team up with local restaurants for venues, and you will find that many will donate space and even provide food as a way to be involved as well. The military is a cause everyone is willing to support. You can put together great events by working together with other local businesses, and they don’t have to require any out of pocket money if you are willing to put in the effort.” – Tad Thomas, Managing Partner of Thomas Law Offices
Host events especially for children with parents serving overseas.
“Imagine how hard it is for children who have parents overseas and they have not seen them in a long time. This can be difficult, especially over the holidays, when most people are spending time with their families.
Considering hosting events especially for children, providing fun and entertainment as a way to help take their mind off of the reality. You can even get creative and see if a local movie theatre will donate the space and some snacks for a showing especially for kids with parents overseas.” – Christopher Dziak, CEO of Pure Nootropics
Organize a local toy drive during the holiday season.
“The holiday season is when people are the most generous with time and money. If you want to do something nice for local kids of military parents consider organizing a toy drive. You can collect toys and then host an event, provide a meal and then hand out toys to all kids in attendance.
Something like this can be executed with a few local business owners organizing everything, and then leverage the community’s involvement to make sure it’s successful. It’s a great way to position your company as one that is involved in the local community and one that cares about the community members.” – Chad Gaynier of Clarity Clinic