Whether it’s “made in the USA” or knowing a pair of shoes will be donated to a person in need for every purchased pair, we all love knowing that a portion of the money we spend is going toward something we believe in. Doing something good for the world feels great and when it’s built in to products and services your patients buy from you, it reinforces their decision to choose you and your practice.
Let’s face it, we are all so maxed out we hardly even have time to figure out how and where to donate. By partnering with a community or non-profit cause, you can make “giving” easy for patients while garnering some powerful paybacks for your practice.
Here are three reasons finding a cause to support will benefit your practice:
1. Boost Team Morale — By rallying together to support something ‘bigger than ourselves’ you change staff’s mindset from the individual to a team member who is excited to do good for others. Spending time together outside of the practice is healthy and builds stronger work relationships. When your staff learns about a cause—either related to your specialty or not—they can feel good about advocating for others. Advocacy can be a deeply satisfying experience full-time employees often miss out on due to a lack of time.
Tip: Decide together what cause your practice will support. Choosing something related to your specialty makes sense but isn’t a must.
2. Do Well by Doing Good — Participation in events related to the cause your practice supports provides excellent opportunities to showcase your practice in a subtle yet very positive way. Imagine your staff in matching team T-shirts participating in a community walk for skin cancer awareness, wrapping gifts to raise money during the holidays for homeless veterans, or hosting an event in your practice to spread awareness with sales benefiting The Skin Cancer Foundation. Your practice gains visibility while reminding your community of who you are and what you do and projecting the positive image as the practice with a heart.
Tip: Events get media attention. Call local editors and let them know what you’re up to. Use email to rally your patients to your cause and report back to them on how it went. Be sure to share photos of your team on event day.
3. Build Patient Engagement — Here’s a term we’ve heard a lot of in recent years: patient engagement. It doesn’t just mean patients paying attention to their health and reaching out for help when they need it. Patient engagement can also refer to social engagement with your practice, a feeling of connectedness. By providing opportunities for patients to partner with you, to learn about a cause from you and to get involved, you give deeper meaning to their lives and connect patients to your practice in a potentially powerful way. Even if you participation is limited, patients are noticing if you are telling them what you are up to, and it may be a couple years before they decide to jump in and help.
Tip: Be consistent. Create a pattern that patients can anticipate and imagine themselves joining in, and eventually they will. When patients see your practice’s consistent involvement, it will cement your image as a giving practice.
Embrace the value of an altruistic venture your physicians, leaders and staff can support, and then execute that support better each year. Team t-shirts embellished with your practice logo, announcements and day-of-event reports via email and social media with team and action photos, and reports of your practice’s impact ‘for the cause’ are great ways to reinforce patients choosing your practice over competitor-practices and gaining visibility with potential new patients and referral sources.
It’s not easy to carve time out for your practice to spend together outside of work, especially when it’s not income-generating time. But doing so can bring incredible value to your practice through increased camaraderie, job satisfaction, patient engagement and improved visibility and image in the community.
Example of event: