Hundreds of cleaning businesses all across the nation are "giving away" what they do for a living, and reaping huge benefits because of it.
Large corporations have long understood the benefits of not only focusing on the first bottom line — financial — but also the second bottom line — social impact.
And, when a company''s social impact becomes so well-known that the public begins to connect with the brand through its causes, you have what is called cause marketing.
For years, the cleaning industry has been collectively passive in the area of leveraging causes to promote their business and please their customers and prospects.
Most cleaning companies do "give back" in some way or another, but few enjoy the benefits of free, unprecedented publicity and endearing media exposure.
The Cleaning For A Reason Foundation is helping to change all that.
Adapt Or Die
The most successful businesses are keeping current with trends and customer spending habits.
People are demanding social purpose and companies are recognizing this as an area where they can differentiate themselves from the competition.
I know of a successful commercial janitorial business in Florida that includes copies of newspaper articles from their cause-related publicity in their formal bid proposals.
They are active supporters of the Cleaning For A Reason Foundation, and therefore are able to use the pink cancer ribbon on their marketing materials.
When recently awarded a large industrial contract, the new customer identified his company''s participation in the Cleaning For A Reason program as the deciding factor in the selection process.
That''s powerful cause marketing.
Give From The Heart
Cause marketing, at its best, helps you stand out from the pack and positions you as a company worthy of doing business with.
Studies have shown that consumers will even pay a little more to do business with companies that are making a difference socially.
Your customers and prospects want to know how you''re special, what makes you different and how you''re "giving back" to the community you serve.
If you''re not, studies show they''ll choose the competition that is.
When they buy from you, they know they too are helping to make a difference; a value consumers say is worth more to them than just price.
Heartfelt giving will become a part of your company''s culture, engaging employees, customers and prospects.
It feels good, as an owner, to be able to use your business to do good deeds in your community.
Choose A Complementary Cause
There are hundreds of causes to choose from but there is only one nonprofit approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that specifically involves the cleaning industry: Cleaning For A Reason, a 501c3 nonprofit.
Doing good on your own, without the partnership advantage of a nonprofit, makes it difficult to be noticed in the press.
Think of the dozens of times you''ve already given back, and then ask yourself how many times you''ve been interviewed by a reporter because of it.
Cleaning For A Reason is such a high-impact story that reporters want to write about it or bring the information to their viewers on the five o''clock news.
It''s unique, it''s practical and it''s the "help now" factor that reporters love and the public appreciates the most.
I spent the first 25 years of my business paying for every piece of "advertorial" and print advertisement I could get.
Traditional marketing is expensive, but it works and is the way most of us built our businesses.
Thanks to our partnership with Cleaning For A Reason, however, free publicity and tons of public exposure has become the norm at my office.
Our business has been featured over a dozen times in various local newspapers and on the evening news and morning news shows in the last two years.
Formalize Your Affiliation
To make your cause-related partnership a win-win for everyone, work with the nonprofit you choose to define how it will help your business increase its visibility.
Fundraisers, expos and logo use on your website and your marketing materials go a long way in getting the word out about your participation.
Many organizations will even assist with ideas and press releases.
Business benevolence should not be the best-kept secret in town because giving in the background is a missed opportunity for a business.
Plan how you will inform your current customers of your cause-related efforts and line up newspaper and television interviews.
There''s a real story behind any cleaning business that is helping women with cancer receive free house cleaning during their season of treatment.
As a cleaning-related business, your efforts in helping this cause are newsworthy — whether through sponsorship of a local maid service or if you are the service actually doing the work.
Hundreds of cleaning businesses have already received thousands of dollars in free publicity and have been in the news nearly every single day since our organization started.
If you aren''t leveraging the power of cause marketing in your business, you are missing out on one the hottest trends in America today.
Moreover, there is a sense of personal satisfaction that comes from using your business to help those in need.
Debbie Sardone is a popular speaker, writer and maid service business consultant. She is also the founder of Cleaning For A Reason, a nonprofit of more than 700 companies providing free house housekeeping services to women undergoing treatment for cancer in nearly all 50 states and Canada. Hoover, which became a major sponsor in 2010, is donating $1 to the nonprofit for every Facebook fan added at www.facebook.com/hoover. Find Sardone at www.debbiesardone.com or www.cleaningforareason.org.