Franchise Philanthropy: 8 Ways Your Franchise Can Make a Difference

Franchise Philanthropy: 8 Ways Your Franchise Can Make a Difference

Give-Back Efforts Can Help Foster a Great Franchise Culture and a Positive Brand Image

Philanthropic efforts have become a great way to build a positive brand image and contribute to society. According to the National Philanthropic Trust, U.S. corporate giving totaled $21.08 billion in 2022 — a 3.4% increase from 2021.

But it’s not just about brand image; giving back can foster an amazing company culture, inspire employees and increase overall job satisfaction. That’s why philanthropic efforts are a win-win-win for franchisors. Give-back efforts offer an opportunity to bring an entire franchise system together — including the corporate team, franchisees and employees.

Franchising’s wide reach and influence puts companies in a unique position to make a significant impact through philanthropy. Below is a quick reference to eight ways your franchise brand can extend its charitable efforts. More information is included below.

Philanthropy EffortWhat a Brand Would Gain
Create Your Own 501(c)3 NonprofitOpportunity to dedicate to causes aligning with the brand, enhance transparency, and build strong bonds between charitable efforts and operations.
Partner with Established NonprofitsEfficient execution of charitable endeavors, utilization of far-reaching networks, and potential for cooperative possibilities.
Donate Services/Products to Established NonprofitsShow dedication to making a positive difference, ease financial pressure for nonprofits, and provide high-quality offerings.
Support Franchisees in Finding Local NonprofitsStrengthen ties between franchisees and communities, boost brand recognition, and empower franchisees to support causes they care about.
Home Office Staff VolunteeringNurture a culture of giving, empower employees to contribute to causes they’re passionate about, and promote teamwork and unity.
Mission TripsCombine charitable endeavors with team building, forge stronger connections, and add an extra layer of purpose and impact to company trips or conferences.
Adopt-a-Cause Marketing CampaignsCreate focused campaigns connecting with customers and franchisees, distribute resources to different causes, and allow franchisees to engage as needed.
Disaster Relief SupportMake a significant impact by aiding disaster-stricken areas, providing crucial supplies, and volunteering on-site in times of urgent need.

1. Create Your Own 501(c)3 Nonprofit

By establishing your own 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, your franchise will have the opportunity to dedicate itself to the causes that align best with your brand. Crafting your own nonprofit allows you to enhance transparency and exercise financial control while also facilitating the bond between the charitable endeavors and the operations of your franchise.

McDonald’s is perhaps the best example of this. The burger giant has touched countless lives by establishing the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Its purpose is to develop, identify, and bolster programs that directly enhance children’s health and overall well-being.

2. Partner with Established Nonprofits

Collaborating with well-established nonprofits enables you to execute charitable endeavors efficiently. This collaboration facilitates the utilization of each other’s far-reaching networks, opening doors to a variety of cooperative possibilities. Common partnership strategies include donating a portion of profits, setting up annual contributions, or matching employee/client donations.

The Massage Envy franchise actively champions several nonprofit organizations committed to promoting health and wellness. Notable among these are the Arthritis Foundation, Massage Therapy Foundation, Beauty Changes Lives Foundation, and various others.

3. Donate Services/Products to Established Nonprofits

Sometimes, the best way to help is to use your franchise’s strengths. Partner with established nonprofits and offer them your unique products or services. For instance, a restaurant franchise could provide meals to local shelters, showing a real dedication to making a positive difference. This not only eases financial pressure but also guarantees the nonprofit high-quality offerings, giving them confidence and reassurance.

Two Men and a Truck franchise has donated tons of items that would have otherwise ended up in landfills. They have partnered with several organizations, including Convoy of Hope, Cheeriodicals, Toys for Tots, United Way, and Habitat for Humanity to donate moving services to those in need. They also have their own giving programs – Movers for Moms®, Movers for Military®, Movers for Meals®, Movers for Mutts®, and Truckload of Warmth®.

4. Support Franchisees in Finding Local Nonprofits

If forming partnerships at the franchisor level doesn’t fit your brand, think about encouraging your franchisees to get involved in their local communities with nearby nonprofits. Give them useful tools, expert advice, and maybe even financial rewards to help them build important relationships with these organizations. This smart approach strengthens the ties between franchisees and their communities, boosts your brand’s recognition and reputation, and empowers franchisees to support causes they care about.

Premium Service Brands (PSB) has created a system-wide culture of giving back with its Kids-Lift program. Kids-Lift closes the gap between kids who can afford everyday necessities such as food, school supplies, and clothing and those who can’t. PSB franchise owners can opt-in to Kids-Lift to support their local schools, groups, and organizations by focusing on seasonal needs such as summer meals and snacks, fall facility improvements, and winter coat drives.

5. Home Office Staff Volunteering

Nurturing a culture of giving starts from within. Offer your home office staff paid time off to volunteer at charities they care about. This gives employees a strong sense of purpose and empowers them to contribute to causes they’re passionate about, leading to a more motivated and engaged workforce. Also, think about joining or hosting charitable events at your corporate headquarters. These activities promote teamwork and unity while offering a meaningful way to give back as a group.

Marriott has gone all-in on community service. The hotel chain believes in making the communities where they operate better places to live, work and visit. Through volunteerism, fundraising, cash and in-kind donations, its hotels and associates worldwide are impassioned to do good in their communities and make a meaningful impact.

6. Mission Trips

Orchestrating or sponsoring a mission trip is an exceptional way to combine charitable endeavors with team building. Mission trips offer a condensed commitment period, enabling franchisees and corporate teams to forge stronger connections while contributing to those less fortunate. These experiences can seamlessly complement company trips or conferences, adding an extra layer of purpose and impact.

MaidPro franchise has led impactful mission trips for both its franchisees and home office staff, spanning the globe to offer volunteer assistance at children’s homes facing adversity. Past mission endeavors have encompassed diverse projects such as constructing dormitories, developing sports fields, renovating bathrooms, and undertaking various other initiatives to make a substantial difference.

7. Adopt-a-Cause Marketing Campaigns

Adopt-a-cause marketing campaigns are a wonderful way to get behind a specific cause or project. Franchisors can allocate a portion of their profits or resources to this effort, creating a focused campaign that connects with customers and franchisees. This approach lets you distribute resources to different causes and gives franchisees the choice to engage or step back as needed.

Jersey Mike’s hosts a cherished annual day of giving, during which the entirety of company sales is devoted to nonprofit organizations. This philanthropic tradition is fortified by a month-long marketing campaign, meticulously driven by the enthusiastic participation of its dedicated franchise locations.

8. Disaster Relief Support

Companies can offer support by aiding disaster-stricken areas. This can involve providing crucial supplies or volunteering on-site. Your franchise has the power to make a significant impact in times of urgent need.

Bio-One, a renowned trailblazer in biohazard remediation services, demonstrated its commitment when numerous franchise locations stepped forward to offer indispensable services and support in the aftermath of the tragic events at Mandalay Bay and Pulse Night Club Shootings.

Philanthropy and Franchising

When a franchise system embraces philanthropy, magical things can happen. Give-back efforts can help build stronger relationships with employees, customers and the community. By embracing these approaches above, your franchise can emerge as a dynamic agent of positive change.

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Madeleine Zook has experience as a franchisor, multi-unit and multi-brand franchisee, supplier, and consultant. She hosts the award-winning franchise podcast, The Art of Franchise Marketing, and founded FRANCAREERS and Franthropic.
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