How helping your community this season can boost sales

As the holidays draw nearer and gatherings become more popular, a sense of community becomes even more important for your customers and for your business. While December is often a busy month with catering and parties, you can limit any lulls by hosting an event that helps your community.

77 per cent of consumers say that they support brands that make the world a better place, and there’s no better place to start than in your own neighborhood.

Not sure how to host an event that people want to attend? There are some key elements you need to consider to make this endeavour a success.

Pick a partner

Choose a charity that you are genuinely passionate about. This could look like a local animal shelter, food pantry, or even a school or community centre in your area. Decide when you’d like to host the event and then look for ways that both of you can benefit from the increased traffic in your restaurant.

RELATED: How restaurants can create community by partnering with non-profits

Plan the event

Decide how you want the event to be structured. You can donate the proceeds of sales from certain menu items, days, or set a timeframe when the charity will benefit. You could also participate in accepting donations like winter coats, mittens, or non-perishables. While this may require storage and transportation, it also works as free advertising for the event when people come in off the street.

You might consider donating prizes like gift certificates or branded merchandise to create a buzz and encourage attendance. You could offer draws or host mini events like an ugly sweater contest for attendees. The prizes don’t all have to be at your cost, either, partner with other local businesses for donated prizes and more marketing opportunities to broaden your reach even further.

Spread the word

Create a marketing strategy that doesn’t break the bank.

Partnering with a charity means that they will also advertise your event, so you can reach double the amount of people in your marketing audience. If they have a large following, ask them to send out an e-blast letting people know how they can support your efforts.

Social media is also a fantastic avenue to advertise the event. Use a hashtag, ask your community to share, and post photos and videos that show your excitement for the event.

Hosting a community event this holiday season is a smart way to attract new business, build your brand, connect with like-minded customers, and help out a non-profit in need.