Barista Magazine

AUG-SEP 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Managing Donation Programs: Be a force for good while increasing brand exposure By Tracy Allen Anyone who's been in the coffee business for very long can attest that it's a catalyst for community. That can mean your coffee shop is a favorite neighborhood hangout—a meeting spot for telecommuters, students, families, and empty-nesters alike. It can also mean being inundated with requests for coffee donations, free use of coffee-shop space to hold a fundraiser, or even an ask for you to serve coffee at a charitable event. Although saying "yes" can squeeze profi t margins, many café owners fi nd their donations are repaid in publicity and customer loyalty. Being a good community citizen is also helpful for attracting employees. In a 2016 poll conducted for Fortune, almost two-thirds of Millennials said they were more likely to work for a company that gave back to society. They also reported feeling more likely to make purchases from charitable companies, too. Designating charity efforts Dillanos Coffee Roasters, a retail and wholesale roaster in Sumner, Wash., has three main focuses for its giving efforts: children, military families and other public service professionals, and cancer causes. This includes local school districts, fi re and police departments, hospitals, food banks, and more. Often, Dillanos provides coffee for fundrais- ing events. "You'd be surprised how many organizations don't have a quality-coffee element for their events, and they're using the cheapest thing they can fi nd," says Mike Miller, Dillanos' culture and community ambassador. "But good coffee, as we all know, adds a special touch to any event. Plus it gives Dillanos an opportunity to be involved." Dillanos also gives military veterans the company's nonprofi t pricing and private labels it for them. "This allows them to make large enough margins selling their branded coffee bags to retailers through- out the country to then support veteran organizations that they believe in with the profi ts they make," says Mike. Dillanos has the same sort of partnership with JavaFundraising, where any nonprofi t can sign up to sell coffee while earning up to 50% of the sales price for their causes. Southern California–based Klatch Coffee roasts and ships coffee all over the world to consumers and wholesale accounts, and serves it up at six of its own retail locations. As for local community involvement, "we donate to almost all local groups who ask," says Holly Perry, gen- eral manager. "Part of our mission is to support the community that supports us, as well as to grow our brand, our cafés, and our roastery." All of Klatch's retail locations (fi ve in Southern California and one in San Francisco) are heavily involved in local chamber of commerce events. "We donate and serve coffee at events like the San Dimas Wine Walk. Over 2,000 people participate in it, which is a lot for a small community. It's a great way to serve to folks who haven't heard of us," says Holly. Klatch offers its café spaces for open-mic nights and fundraisers, but really goes big in terms of community giving and organizing on Giving Tuesday in November. Employees from each store get to choose an organization to support, and encourage customers to get involved, too. "Last year one of our stores chose a local group foster home, and gathered donations for clothes, toys, sports equipment, and other things on the home's wish list," Holly says. Customers get 50% off their coffee order when they bring in items for donation. "It's not just about us giving back, but how can we get our community involved, too." One particularly unique thing Klatch does for charity auctions is donate empty bags of coffees and empty cold-brew growlettes. People who win the items at auction then bring them into a Klatch location to pick out a coffee that suits their palate, or fi ll up on fresh cold brew. Donations can boost business Press Coffee Roasters in Scottsdale, Ariz., has taken a biannual-event approach to its local giving efforts. When the company launched Press On Charities in May 2018, all profi ts for one day of sales—in its seven retail locations and online—went to Phoenix Children's Hospital. In addition, its wholesale partner, Over Easy (a local breakfast/brunch spot), matched the donation. Press Coffee has been donating all sales from two days each year to local nonprofi ts through Press On events, "and we make sure it counts," says Adriana Vizcaino, district manager and director of marketing. "We try to choose a day when we think we'll have a good amount of business, and we promote the event on social media and via press release, and through a wholesale partner that commits to matching the funds we raise. With these promotional efforts, we defi nitely see a bump in traffi c—as much as a 10–15% increase in sales." Afterwards, highlights from the fundraiser are shared on social media and Press' blog. Press Coffee's goal is to add more charities to its fundraising model. "Giving back to our Arizona communities and organizations is really im- portant to us as we just celebrated 10 years here," says Adriana. "Our employees enjoy it and our matching partners like the exposure, too." Beyond local community involvement It's common for coffee professionals to want to support efforts within the industry—no matter how far fl ung they may be. Dillanos sponsors education, housing, and meals for over 90 children in coffee-growing regions. But for a small retailer, even sponsoring one child has an impact. "You could sponsor one child at origin or give fi ve pounds of coffee to a local fundraiser—it all adds up and builds connection and community," says Mike of Dillanos. For one Press On Charities event, Press Coffee partnered with the Phoenix Zoo and its jaguar conservation project in Costa Rica to create Pura Vida, the fi rst jaguar-friendly coffee. "We were able to source this coffee grown in Finca Las Alturas, a region where they are working to save these big, beautiful cats and create an environment where farmers and wildlife can coexist," says Adriana. "The jaguars are native to this area and they walk among the coffee trees! This project is ongoing with $5 of each bag sold going directly back to the project." 82 barista magazine

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