We humans are basically social animals. We thrive on contact with others, be it our friends or loved ones, our chosen loved ones and partners, or our pets. We care for each other, 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 appears to be one disaster after another, it sometimes becomes difficult to forget what we can do for each other, as a show of goodwill.
In the pet industry, like many others, it can become easy to get lost in routine. However, some well-chosen philanthropic actions 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 act philanthropically is to make pure donations. Whether it’s money, resources, or even animals, being able to donate publicly to a worthy cause not only serves as a potential tax cut, but also makes you dear to the community at large. together. An animal sanctuary, museum, or zoo that receives a donation from you may offer naming rights, allowing your store’s name to be attached to displays or exhibits, exposing thousands of potential visitors to the positive impact of your store within your community.
If anyone can speak to the importance of philanthropy in the broader community, it’s Julia Murgatroyd, former Colubrid Breeder at Reptiles by Mack and now Senior Educator at the Joseph Moore Museum. from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.
“As a non-profit organization, we need donations of all types, whether it’s 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 programs allows people to have up-close experiences with animals they may have never heard of, are afraid of, or simply don’t understand,” Murgatroyd said. “They can learn to overcome their fears, learn more about their natural world, or even learn more about how to better care for their own pets, if they are interested in a certain animal.”
Working in tandem with a museum or zoo allows you to bring both your own expertise, but also the expertise of that establishment’s zoologists and animal care specialists, providing a greater support structure for both animals from the museum or the zoo, but also for your own. clients.
Animal shelters are pretty much in the same boat. Many shelters have ongoing problems with shortages of basic supplies: food, litter, bowls, litter, and a cage. Providing a worthy charity grants you the goodwill of those charity members, who will now be much more likely to shop at your store. It can also provide outreach and publicity opportunities.
Consider hosting an adoption day at your store, partnering with a reputable animal shelter. By doing something as simple as offering a coupon or discount alongside an adoption, you are establishing the irrefutable fact that you are actively supporting this shelter and donating the materials needed to care for adopted animals. You show that you not only care about them, but that you are able to provide the best for someone’s new pet. And, as we’ve said many times in this column: selling (or adopting) an animal is just the beginning of your retailer-customer relationship. If a customer can associate your store with their new adopted kitten or rainbow boa, they’re sure to come back to your store to pick up kitty litter, frozen mice, or new toys or decorations for their home. animal.
Really, these two only scratch the surface. If you already partner with your local museum, zoo, or animal sanctuary, consider working with nursing homes, hospitals, or other long-term care facilities to establish pet visitation days. 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 have never set foot in your store before. You might even want to turn to less orthodox places like cat cafes, a new concept popularized by urban millennials eager to bond with animals. A few bags of cat food and litter can earn you the equivalent of thousands of customers, who will go out of their way to support a retailer that helps keep another business’s doors open.
It’s very easy, in the face of the daily routine, to have your head down and your eyes fixed on your 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 sits on the zoonoses committee of PIJAC. His Ohio-based company is now widely recognized as one of the largest reptile breeders and suppliers in the United States.