Giving back to the community can be a valuable part of your marketing campaign.

You may not have a lot of money to donate, but you possess valuable skills. By donating your cleaning services, forming charitable partnerships and advertising in community publications, you can make a difference in people’s lives.

Costs for donating your services are minimal and you probably have spare time to make it happen.

By dedicating some of your slow season time to contributing your services to worthy causes, you can help your business grow.

Benefits of giving

Satisfaction comes from helping others. You do not have to wait until you are wealthy to make generous contributions to causes and organizations you support. Your services often have a greater impact than financial donations.

There are other substantial rewards that come as a result of giving. Your company can receive valuable exposure in the process of performing your work. Consumers pay attention to individuals and companies that give to their community.

The cause to which you donate your services will rarely be able to reward you. However, benefits will come when others who support it remember you.

People think favorably of those who appear giving and caring. Your gift of service can attract the attention of quality consumers you may not have otherwise been able to reach. Since few companies make this kind of contribution, you stand out from the crowd.

The process of giving

Once you have decided to become a business that gives, the next step is to decide and commit to how much time you will donate. Your objective will then be finding worthy and strategic organizations that will benefit from your services. Brainstorm and talk with people who donate time to charitable causes in order to get ideas of whom you can help.

When you donate your service, it is acceptable to offer a limited amount for free. For instance, you might consider offering to clean the main lobby and front offices of a non-profit organization. The remaining offices could be done at a deeply discounted price.

In some situations it may be appropriate to ask for some recognition for your contribution. For example, you may ask permission to leave fliers or business cards with the people in the building. The organization may be willing to recognize you in their newsletter or in other ways they communicate with their members and supporters. They could write a letter of appreciation or allow you photo opportunities that you can use to promote your company.

Still, the most important part of giving is to schedule the work and get it done.

The opportunities are limitless

It is not hard to find non-profit organizations that could use carpet cleaning but lack the money in their budget. These could include religious groups or churches, large and small non-profit organizations, schools and groups that work with people in need.

If you need ideas, do a Google search for “non-profit organizations (and your city name).”

Charitable partnerships

Consider creating charitable partnerships. A charitable partnership is an arrangement in which the organization receives an established percentage of any work you perform for its members.

Set a donation amount from 10 to 50 percent of the invoice that will go to the non-profit.

You can assist in providing marketing materials and information about this partnership, but the primary responsibility for getting the word out should be on the organization.

Can you imagine the impact that little Johnny could have going to Grandma and asking, “Grandma, do you need your carpet cleaned? If you have this company do the work, 30 percent will go toward buying new uniforms for my soccer team.”

Consumers are drawn to companies who donate to groups they support. If someone is planning on using a service company, they will have to ask themselves: “Why not choose the company that is directing some of the money to a worthy cause?” 

Year-round opportunities

Throughout the year, customers turn to companies they use and ask if they would donate gift certificates for fundraisers to causes they support. Consider taking them up on these offers. Not only is it a chance to show appreciation for their loyal support of your company, but it also creates an opportunity to have the customer spread the word about your company. Yes, again you are offering to work for free, but the benefits are worth the effort.

In the same way, customers may approach you to purchase ad space in a school newsletter, a yearbook or a sports team schedule. It is a good idea to help them if you can. Again, their appreciation for your support and the positive exposure is usually worth it.

Look at the potential

It is amazing how much good comes back to those who freely give. Most companies miss seeing these occasions as a chance to build goodwill and establish a reputation as a giving company. When you consider the wonderful feeling you get from helping others, the priceless goodwill you build, the photo opportunities, the testimonials and the potential new customers — this is an opportunity that you would be foolish to ignore. Put your spare time to a good use and enjoy the rewards.

Steve Marsh is the creator of the Be Competition Free Marketing Program. He is a 30-year veteran of the carpet cleaning industry, an IICRC-approved instructor and a Senior Carpet Inspector. Marsh is a marketing and business consultant who provides a turn-key program for attracting better customers. For more information, log on to