Why it’s Important for your Pharmacy to Give Back

charity-pharmacy-pos-rms.jpgThis past weekend gave shoppers every opportunity to fill gift boxes, stuff stockings, and spoil themselves with something new all at the same time. Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, we’re probably all feeling a little bit overstimulated and perhaps our wallets are all feeling a little emptier. 

On top of all that, the latest addition to the post-Thanksgiving “spend-a-thon” is Giving Tuesday.  This day is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.  A day to be charitable and kick off the holiday season by giving to others.  It’s a pretty cool organization and a nice thought that something like this can be so successful amidst consumers fighting each other for knock down deals on TV’s and game consoles before the Thanksgiving turkey is even cold. 

But why does this matter to a local pharmacy? Does it even impact you directly? It probably doesn’t.  But it’s important to remember that the holidays tend to focus people on giving more than usual.  Everyone suddenly becomes much more focused on doing things that give back to the community or help a charitable organization.  

As an independent pharmacy, you already do a lot for your community.  You ensure diversity and a variety of choice for local consumers and offer services that they can’t get elsewhere. You create jobs in your community and more of the money spent in your pharmacy stays local. Especially compared to the big box stores. 

With all this in mind, do you really need to do more during the holidays?  Well, there’s no right or wrong answer here, but there are certainly some easy things that you can do. 

  • Set up a donation box – This is really easy, doesn’t cut into your bottom line, and can take any number of formats. You can host a donation spot for a food, clothing, or toy drive.  Work with a local charity that asks for cash donations, or simply choose a cause to support.  Contact charitable organizations in your area to see if they would like to be part of charitable giving at your pharmacy. They may even have displays you can use.   Because customers often have to stop at the pharmacy for prescriptions, having an option for them to give back while they are taking care of necessities will definitely be appreciated.  It also shows that you care about your community by taking an interest in local giving.
  • Incorporate your customer loyalty program – If you have a pharmacy customer loyalty program in place already, you can take a different approach during the holiday season by asking customers if they’d like to choose a charity to donate to, rather than taking gift certificate or cash rewards. If you can add-on to their donation, that’s great.  It makes it easier for customers to give back without making a bigger dent in their wallets and shows that you are making a conscious effort to give back. 
  • Advertise the things that you do all year round – Many pharmacies do things to give back 365 days a year. And it’s okay to tell people that.  If a certain percentage of your sales go directly to charity, or if you do other things to support local non-profits, then by all means, share that with your customers.  For example, at RMS, any donations we make to charitable organizations in our communities are matched up to a certain amount every year by the company.  And on top of vacation time, we get 40 hours every year in paid time off so that we can go volunteer with a charitable organization. We are proud to share these things with our customers because it’s a big part of who we are as a business. It highlights our corporate culture. You should as well. 

Shopping with businesses that are locally run and independent does a lot for consumers.  But it’s more than service and product selection.  It’s also about how shopping at that business makes people feel.  Can a customer feel good about where their money is going? Can they be confident that they are helping improve their community by shopping local rather than destroying it by shopping exclusively at big-box stores or online?  Of course for every independent pharmacy, the answer to these questions should be yes, but it certainly can’t hurt to remind your customers of these important reasons to shop local this holiday season.