July '18

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80 • RV PRO • July 2018 rv-pro.com D E A L E R S at the track and talking to potential customers, who are also enjoying the day, makes it a really fun environment. "We decided to support Pink Fishing because one of our boat sales consultants is part of the organiza- tion. Cancer is something that can affect anyone, so that was a pretty easy decision. We're happy she's involved in this cause and we want to support her efforts. "The decision of what to give is typically based on the needs of the organization and how we can best fill those needs. For example, Go-Jim- Go's annual fundraiser receives money and the loan of some RVs at the event. "We get asked almost daily to donate or sponsor and, while we want to say 'yes' to everyone, we can't, so we align our partnerships with causes that fit our business goals or enhance the lives of our employees and customers. For example, we do school sponsorships based on where our employees live and where their families attend school. It enhances their quality of life and that's very important to us. "And when an employee is selling candy or cookies in support of their child's activities, or any other cause they're fundraising for, we make a purchase and leave it in our break room. This way, everyone enjoys the treats and individual employees don't feel pressured to buy from each other all the time. They know we're doing it and it's a fair (and delicious) way to make sure everyone's causes are supported. "Once you determine which cause to support, you want to put as much effort as possible toward positively affecting that cause. In some cases, we just give because we like the idea and we want to help them be successful. That's our role as good community citizens. "When a sponsorship opportunity aligns with our business goals we work out a more strategic partnership. In this case, we apply our ROI (return on investment) expectations much differently than we would for other advertising. "There are tangible and intangible benefits to sponsorships, and many things to consider. For example, does the sponsorship allow us to communicate to a group that is otherwise difficult to reach? Does it convey to our customers our support for their cause? Does it place us in front of our target customers, while also doing something good for our community? "It really is our responsibility to help enhance the quality of life within our communities and when deciding what to support, we suggest looking internally first. Find something your employees are passionate about. Then you can help the causes they care about while reaching your business goals. So many organizations need help and offer value in different ways. "Sponsoring an organization might bring you access to poten- tial customers, and when that happens, it's an awesome win-win scenario. Yet, even if there are no immediately tangible returns on your investment, when you genuinely give to a worthy cause, it benefits everyone." Darrin Abel, co-owner RV General Newcastle, Okla. "When we (the dealership) moved to Newcastle in 2015, we actively began seeking opportunities to be where the people are, and our participation has grown as our dealership has grown. "Today, Newcastle Public Schools has our signage on the scoreboard at the football field and the video board at the gym- nasium and banners at the baseball and softball complex. And we donate heavily to their individual booster clubs, helping pay for uniforms, instruments, equipment, etc. "We also sponsor local athletes, such as a young motocross racer who competes on the junior national racing circuit and several Little League baseball and football teams. "Each year, the city of Blanchard, which is about 10 miles away, and Newcastle have large Fourth of July celebrations. In Blanchard, we're the stage sponsor and help pay for the live entertainment. In Newcastle, we provide a motorhome as a staging area for local law enforcement and a cool place for anyone to rest if the heat gets to them. "The city of Norman, a few miles to our east, hosts a three-day music festival each summer called 'Jazz in June' that draws thousands of music fans. We provide an RV as a dressing room for the entertainers in exchange for being listed as an associate sponsor. "Every October, the Sunday prior to Halloween, we take Great Outdoors RV sponsors a race team at the Watkins Glen International Speedway in exchange for driver appearances at the dealership, pit passes to give away, and the hood from the sponsored racecar after the race, which are displayed on the wall of the dealership.

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