Would you be interested if we told you there’s a way to connect with more cosmetic surgery patients and build a stronger team, all while making a positive impact on your local community? Skeptical? Don’t be. Creating ways for you and your staff to give back on a regular basis is the way to do it.
And, let’s not forget all the goodwill you’ll create while you’re at it.
Here’s why volunteerism is so good for your practice’s business:
For many who want to volunteer, the stumbling block is in doing the research on which organization to help, and then concretely putting it on the calendar. When you take the lead and create a culture of giving back, you make it easier for both staff and patients to join you in helping others.
Setting up a structure and schedule for staff volunteering gives your team the chance to bond and work together toward a rewarding goal outside of the office. Happy staff = happy patients. Happy patients = positive reviews for your cosmetic surgery practice.
Throw patient participation into the volunteerism mix, and your business achieves additional benefits. Patients will love that you facilitate events which allow them to “just show up” and give of themselves. That ease and convenience translates into a few things: Local charities benefit more. And, patients will feel good about their efforts and donations.
Patients who connect with you and your staff, and feel happy volunteering are more likely to do two things — return to your practice for future procedures, and tell others about their positive experiences.
As your practice gains momentum with regularly scheduled volunteerism, it’s likely that others will take notice. First and foremost, the organizations that receive the help will be grateful, and likely mention it through their own communications and social channels. Secondly, you and your team will have something engaging and meaningful to talk about in your content — through email newsletters, social media posts, blogs and even on your practice website.
Content that represents how you help a worthwhile cause and why that cause is important to your team, creates connection and relevance. It resonates on an emotional level, too — all key ingredients for effective content that gets attention.
Consistent charitable work also strengthens local ties, and can be a source for potentially beneficial public relations and referrals for your business.
Of course, beyond the team-building and good-for-business benefits, the individuals and organizations in need will be truly grateful for your regular support. Not to mention the great karma you’ll build for yourself, and the gratitude for your own good fortune that inevitably comes when you get involved with a charity.
You may be thinking, “my staff and I already volunteer a few times a year” or “we collect Toys for Tots every holiday season” or even, “I personally donate to at least a few charities when they ask for money.” Those each are generous and kind acts, but there’s more to it in order to gain the business benefits we mention above. You need to be purposeful and coordinated with your volunteerism.
Check out these suggestions on how to make giving back a planned part of your practice’s culture:
- Assign someone on your staff to be in charge of community outreach efforts. Give thought to who will be well-suited to the role as it is one that, if done well, can positively impact your practice’s marketing.
- Begin the new year with a staff meeting to discuss and choose two or three non-profits and charitable organizations that everyone can get behind. Your new outreach coordinator can come up with a list of local charities to choose from, as well as national organizations with a local presence.
- Before finalizing the two or three organizations you want to support, be sure to research their reputation. One of the best-known and reliable tools for this is Charity Navigator. They offer valuable information on two broad performance categories — accountability and transparency, and soon they will also report on a charity’s results.
- Ask questions that uncover which charities are near and dear to your hearts, and why. Also think about which are aligned with your practice’s purpose, like those that offer corrective and reconstructive surgery to the under-privileged.
- VolunteerMatch is a great place to start when compiling a list of local organizations that need help. You can come up with charities to consider based on location, cause, and age of those in need (kids, youth, seniors)
- Think about and research whether you or a senior member of your staff can join the board of one of the local charities you choose to sponsor.
- Determine how frequently the staff can come together to donate time outside the office, and put these dates on the calendar as early in the year as possible. For maximum benefit, aim for at least quarterly.
- Create your own in-office drives to gather supplies and donations to coordinate with your sponsored charity. Outreach efforts don’t all have to be outside the office, although those activities do help strengthen team bonds. They also provide great photo opportunities and fodder for content marketing.
- Invite your patients to join you and help with in-office drives, and any on-site events that are feasible. This is where you’ll create connection and goodwill with your patients, which in turn generates positive reviews and referrals for your practice.
- Promote your efforts. This is why a planned ahead give-back calendar is so important. Create awareness and support through emails, social media and in-office communication. Highlight not only upcoming efforts, but also the successes and impact you are making. (If you outsource any of your marketing to an agency, coordinate through them.)
- The trick is striking balance and being sensitive. You’ll want to avoid what could be construed as pressuring or pestering while still letting everyone know what you and your staff are up to.
- Keep it consistent. As you begin repeating your drives and volunteer efforts each quarter or year, you’ll gain anticipation and recognition for what you are doing. That, in turn, can help highlight and create more successful efforts. More participation. More donations. More positive exposure and word-of-mouth.
- Make it fun and positive for your staff. Generate enthusiasm and recognize your staff’s outstanding volunteering efforts. A personal note of thanks for all they do can go a long way to inspire and motivate. And, an occasional after-event pizza dinner or cocktail is always appreciated.
How do you decide who to help?
The list of charities and non-profits that would welcome regular support from your cosmetic surgery practice is endless. When coming up with a list for consideration, have your community outreach coordinator seek out those that are based locally or regionally.
When you focus most of your giving back efforts on helping people that live in your community, the benefit is this — your practice’s volunteerism will be more meaningful for you, your staff, and also from a public relations perspective. As the old saying goes, “kindness begins at home.”
The exception to keeping your volunteerism local is when events occur that capture everyone’s attention and hearts, such as this past year’s hurricanes that devastated parts of Texas, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Even more recently, the fires that have ravaged parts of northern and southern California are also events that cause a great deal of need. No matter where your practice is, the help needed after natural disasters like these is something everyone can relate to, and rally around.
Many cosmetic surgeons and other healthcare workers donate their time to international organizations that provide free corrective surgery and related treatment to those who cannot afford it. For those looking to make the same kind of difference in the U.S., there are several organizations to consider, including:
1) San Diego based Fresh Start, with offices also in Chicago — offers a variety of ways to help including monetary donations, surgery weekend programs and dental clinics
2) American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Inc.’s Faces of Honor Program — offering pro bono medical and surgical services to veterans with face, head or neck injuries incurred while serving our country
3) AAFPR’s Face to Face Program — helping domestic abuse victims who cannot afford to seek and receive treatment for facial injuries
We’ll leave you with these thoughts…
Many of us get motivated to take action and do more than think about charitable efforts once a year or so. Afterwards, we end up feeling happy that we’ve done so. And, it’s common to think about helping others during the holidays. Toys for Tots places donation bins in many locations, offices set up Giving Trees, and Salvation Army bells ring at many store entrances.
But, giving back is not just a holiday time activity. To truly make a difference, volunteerism needs to become a regular part of team calendars. It shouldn’t be just a “one and done” kind of effort.
The rewards for those you help, your team, and your business are well-worth the time and effort it takes to put into place a consistent giving back program. Once you do it yourself, you’ll see what we mean.