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There are many ways to connect with the rich and famous of your community and get them to arrive and depart fundraising and charity events in your vehicles. Because most of these events offer free-flowing alcohol, arriving and departing by chauffeured transportation is not only practical but responsible. If you can get the emcee, deejay or speaker to mention this at events, you are instilling a mental connection of your company with drunken driving prevention. To make this happen, your company must be a part of the event.
If you want to be on the “inside,” there is no better way than to become a part of the organization putting on the event. This can include serving on the planning committee or volunteering to work at the event. You also may suggest that sponsors have transportation included with the price of their sponsorships of the organization paying you for your service, even if you discount your rate or donate service in exchange for the promotional value.
San Diego operator Rick Brown has donated more than 1,000 rides to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
How much you give is a personal decision. At least, you might consider donating a gift certificate for a silent auction or door prize to expose your company name to attendees. “Charities like to include a limo in their (auction) packages because it raises more money,” says Ric Garza, owner of R & R Limousine Service in Houston. The Livestock Show and Rodeo, for example, raises money for scholarships and is a big event for many limo companies in the Houston area, Garza says.
Mix, mingle and market
If you want face time with the attendees, show up at the event. This gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself to prospective clients and hand them a business card while telling them about your business and your involvement with the charity. Events such as casino nights, wine tasting events, and Chamber of Commerce mixers lend well to casual interactions. People are intrigued by our business. They want to know who we drive, where we go, and stories we see and hear. When seated with strangers at an event, start the conversation by introducing yourself to your tablemates. When they respond, ask them what they do for a living. When they ask you what you do for a living, the stage is yours. The table will be captivated, and it is time to hand out cards to everyone at the table. When dishing dirt, avoid naming names of any clients. Doing so could cause your prospective new clients to wonder what you might say about them.
If you don’t have time to join and participate on an event committee, consider an “in-kind sponsorship.” Events typically have sponsorship levels such as silver, gold or stage sponsor. Each has an associated value. A gold sponsorship level might be $1,500 and include tickets to the event, a table sponsorship sign, inclusion of a logo in the program and on volunteer worker T-shirts, and media advertising. A donation of livery service equal to the value of the sponsorship level could provide you major exposure for a fraction of the cost. The organization could use the donation as a grand prize or be included with other donors such as restaurants offering free dinners or spas offering a day of pampering. Don’t be afraid to ask about in-kind donations if you are tight on cash.