Donating Safe Rides Home to Charity

Jim Luff
Posted on April 20, 2011
Operators should try this cost-effective marketing solution that provides great exposure but more importantly does good deeds.
When making decisions about advertising and marketing expenses, I always want to know what the potential “reach” is going to be. For example, if a sponsorship to an event is $1,000, I want to know how many people might be at the event. If the projection is 400 people, then you are spending $2.50 towards each person at the event for them to be exposed to your name. Of course many people won’t read the program and won’t look at your signs, or it simply won’t register in their minds.
Donating rides home from a public charity event can provide many marketing advantages than you simply cannot put a dollar value on. You can, however, determine exactly what your cash outlay is for providing such service. When you compare exposure to cost, donating “safe rides home” from events that involve alcohol can be a huge benefit.
First, make sure that your local media knows that you are providing such a service and have them announce it the same day of the event on the news. This provides additional media exposure for the event and the promoters will appreciate that and the fact that it makes the organization look responsible for arranging free rides home to those that need it. The “reach” is greatly extended by having your name broadcast on the news.
Make sure that you are provided with prime parking at the front entrance of the event. People should not have to look all over the place for a safe ride. More importantly, this places your vehicle on display. Keep doors open and hand out brochures to guests arriving and departing. They are forced to walk by your display.
Arrange for the emcee, deejay or host to make continuous announcements during the night about the free rides home and make sure that you provide “copy points” or “liners” about your company that can be incorporated into the announcements, such as the types of vehicles you have, how long you have been in business, your website information, and other marketing information. Think of this as free commercials on a live basis.
Between the repeated messages during the event and your front entrance display, you will garner more attention than a traditional sponsorship. You probably can even roll free tickets for yourself into the agreement, and if food is served, your chauffeurs may be fed for free.
Here is the best part of the deal. Very few people actually will take you up on the ride home. They don’t want to leave their car at the event. Most won’t know in advance of the offer, or they would get dropped off. Your chauffeur probably will not make more than two to three trips. Doing the math from an event we did last week for our local Chamber of Commerce, our operating cost was $79.14. This event was attended by 372 guests, according to a chamber official. That means the cost per person reached was about 21 cents, not including the television exposure.

-- Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor

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Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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