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Being a Community Partner

Posted by Ilena Di Toro | Posted on March 12, 2019

Millennials often get a bad rap as being selfish, but recent studies have shown that they will spend more with companies that “give back” through supporting causes that they care about. Since the Millennials have over $2 billion dollars in spending power, it would be nice for your practice to earn their business. Even more important than new business, is the opportunity to help others and be a community partner.

“Wait a minute,” You must be saying now. “I have a business to run.” Don’t worry, there is a way to be a community partner that helps, not hurts your business.

Don’t Overlook the Obvious Established Institutions
Mention community partner, and most people think of fraternal organizations like the Lions Club and the Rotary Club. While the membership of both clubs tends to skew towards retirement age and older, these are two organizations worth joining. They both work to improve their local community and the world at large. Rotary’s global initiative is polio eradication. Lions global initiative is vision health, which is perfect for eye care professionals. Having worked with members of both organizations, I have seen them put together successful events that are equal, if not better, than what some larger nonprofit and for profit organizations do. It is that kind of initiative that benefits communities and individuals.

Go Beyond the Donation
Don’t just send in a check for a sponsorship. Make time to give a talk about vision health at a regularly scheduled meeting or as part of career day at a local school. In addition, volunteer at community events by having a booth or by being a helper in any capacity. These things will not only make you more visible (no pun intended), it will get you involved in activities that benefit others and it will show that you are invested in your community. Also, get your staff involved as volunteers at community events. It is a great morale booster and it helps employees to bond much better than trite team building activities.

Promote the Profession & Eye Health
Unfortunately, we take it for granted that we can see — until something happens and we can’t. Giving a talk at a Lions or Rotary meeting or a school about eye health will help to promote the importance of maintaining your vision and the importance of the eye care profession in general. It is easy to get wrapped up in the day to day grind of running a practice, yet it is important to take some time to talk about eye health and the profession. You get a chance to see people outside of the office and learn more about those who live in your community. Also, in the case of optometry, it wasn’t too long ago that the profession was having trouble getting people to enter the field. That’s when professional organizations encouraged doctors of optometry to promote the profession. I once worked at an optometric school and one of the doctors there told me how her own experience with her family’s optometrist led to her becoming one.

Becoming a community partner doesn’t require extraordinary effort on your part. Taking the time to work with a fraternal organization or give a talk at a local school will pay dividends not just for your business, it will help your community as well.


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