7 Ways Franchisors Can Show Up for the LGBTQIA+ Community
June is Pride Month, which means that rainbows are everywhere to show support for the LGBTQIA+ community. With this support comes celebration, visibility, and a reminder of how far we have come. Then there is the other side of the coin and what it also brings up in many: a whole lot of frustration and a slight tinge of cynicism. The reason folks may struggle is the knowledge that many companies use this month as a revenue-generating, performative allyship stunt.
What is Pink Money?
Entrepreneur reported that LGBTQI+ adults had a staggering $3.7 trillion dollars in purchasing power. Yes, trillion with a “T”! Pink money, pink market, the pink economy, and rainbow capitalism are terms used to describe the growing economic power of the LGBTQIA+ community. The pink dollar has been catching the attention of businesses with growing intensity. Every June during Pride Month, they make a bunch of products and promotions to attract that buying power and those pink dollars. They make claims that suggest they are allies and support LGBTQIA+ rights. They work hard for 30 days to attract and keep LGBTQIA+ folks as lifelong customers. But what about the rest of the year?
You may be asking yourself at this point, how can you or your brand show up in a real way for this community during Pride Month plus the other 11 months of the year? Here are seven ways franchisors can truly support the LGBTQIA+ community all year long.
How Franchisors Can Support the LGBTQIA+ Community
Foster an Affirming Workplace
Be upfront and open about your values. Don’t ever let there be an inkling of doubt that your company fully supports the LGBTQIA+ community.
Partner with a Non-Profit
There are already many non-profit organizations that are doing good work in the LGBTQIA+ community. These include The Trevor Project, Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, and Phluid Phoundation.
Amplify Queer Voices
As a franchisor, you have a platform. Use it! There is so much power in visibility and hearing from different voices.
Donate to Pro-LGBTQIA+ Foundations
If you choose to donate to a cause or foundation, resist the idea of donating a portion of the sale and push yourself to donate 100% of the proceeds. It’s a great gut check on why you are considering doing it at all. You can also commit to a minimum donation by the end of the month.
Choose Partners with Similar Values
Push yourself to work with value-aligned partners. If you truly value DEI initiatives, then you should be vertically aligned throughout your entire organization at every business level. Look at all your vendors, suppliers, sponsors, and investors. Screen new hires and new franchisees through that lens, as well.
Look at Your Employee Benefits Package
Adjust your employees’ benefits package in preparation for anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation. As a company, you can choose to protect all of your employees and their families from harmful laws. Do you include a domestic partnership in your family benefits package? Does your provider allow access to gender-affirming medical care? This can be so impactful to your employees and to the allies within your organization, as well. Around half of LGBTQIA+ Americans live in states that do not prohibit employment discrimination, which means they can legally get married one day and be denied a job the next.
Survey Your LGBTQIA+ Workers
Be curious, ask questions, and get input and feedback on what is needed and what would be most impactful for LGBTQIA+ workers. Educate yourself and your staff as much as you can. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s LGBT Inclusion Hub for Small Businesses is a great tool you can implement to educate your team.
The International Franchise Association has taken a huge step in supporting the LGBTQIA+ community with the Franchising Pride Council. This group helps raise awareness and amplify the voices of the LGBTQIA+ franchise community with educational webinars and other initiatives. All IFA members are invited to participate in the Pride Council’s events.
Being an ally is tough work, and it takes a lot of self-reflection. Do the work this month and think about the ways you can show up both personally and within your company to truly be an LGBTQIA+ ally all year long.