We humans are basically social animals. We thrive in contact with others, whether they are our friends or relatives, our loved ones and chosen partners or our pets. We care for one another, especially in times of crisis and tribulation. Even in dark times, we tend to want to help each other out, whether it’s time, resources, money, or even just a kind word. We coined the term “philanthropy” from our ancient ancestors, a term that literally means “love for humanity”. As COVID continues to rage and the national news seems to be one disaster after another, it sometimes becomes difficult to forget what we can do for each other, as a gesture of goodwill.
In the pet industry, like many others, it can become easy to get lost in the routine. However, there are some well-chosen philanthropic actions that can not only help support your local community, but can also create fantastic goodwill and word of mouth from your current and future patrons.
One of the easiest ways to be philanthropic is to donate outright. Whether it’s money, resources, or even animals, being able to donate publicly to a worthy cause not only serves as a potential tax deduction, but also makes you love the community as a whole. An animal shelter, museum or zoo that receives a donation from you may offer naming rights, allowing your store name to be associated with displays or exhibits, thereby exposing thousands of potential visitors to it. positive impact of your store in your community.
If anyone can speak to the importance of philanthropy in the larger community, it’s Julia Murgatroyd – a former Colubridae rearing manager at Reptiles by Mack and now the principal educator of the Joseph Moore Museum in Earlham. College in Richmond, Indiana.
“As a non-profit organization, we need donations of all kinds, be it time, actual donations of money, materials or animals that we use for educational programs.” , Murgatroyd said.
The Joseph Moore Museum, and many others like it, use animals as part of their daily activities, making them an essential part of the educational process in their communities.
“Using live animals in the programs allows people to have up close experiences with animals they may never have heard of, fear or just don’t understand,” he said. Murgatroyd said. “They can learn to overcome their fears, learn more about their natural world, or even learn more about the best way to keep their own pets, if they are interested in a particular animal. “
Acting in tandem with a museum or zoo allows you to bring both your expertise, but also the expertise of that establishment’s zoologists and animal care specialists, providing a greater support structure for both animals in the museum or zoo, but also for your own customers.
Animal shelters are pretty much in the same boat. Many shelters have problems with continued shortages of basic supplies: food, bedding, bowls, bedding and cages. Providing a worthy charity grants you the goodwill of those charity members, who will now be much more likely to shop in your store. It can also provide opportunities for awareness and publicity.
Consider hosting an adoption day at your store, partnering with a proper animal shelter. By doing something as simple as offering a coupon or a discount on top of an adoption, you are establishing the irrefutable fact that you are actively supporting this shelter and donating the necessary materials to care for the adopted animals. You show that not only do you care, but that you are capable of providing the best for someone’s new pet. And, as we’ve said time and time again in this column: selling (or adopting) an animal is just the start of your merchant-customer relationship. If a customer can relate your store to their new adopted kitten or a new rainbow boa, they’ll definitely be back home picking up some kitty litter, frozen mice, or some new toys or home decorations. of his animal.
Really, these two are only scratching the surface. If you’re already a partner with your local museum, zoo, or animal shelter, consider working with nursing homes, hospitals, or other long-term care facilities to establish visiting days for pets. These cost a little more than a few hours of work and can get your message across to a whole new segment of your community who may not have set foot in your store before. You might even want to turn to more unorthodox places like cat cafes, a new concept popularized by millennials of city dwellers keen to bond with animals. A few bags of cat food and litter can net you the equivalent of thousands of business from customers, who will go out of their way to support a retailer who helps keep the doors of another business open.
It is very easy, in the face of daily grind, to have our head down and our eyes fixed on our next task. But, don’t forget to get some fresh air in your community. It will be well worth your time.
John Mack is the founder and CEO of Reptiles by Mack. He is also vice-president of PIJAC and member of the PIJAC committee on zoonoses. His Ohio-based company is widely recognized as one of the largest breeders and suppliers of reptiles in the United States today.