Why Giving Back May be the Best Way to Grow Your Practice | Companies Helping to Make the World a Better Place | Three Ways to Give Back that Benefit Your Practice | Spotlight on New Design | Two Big Reasons You Need a Mobile Friendly Website Now | Contact
Giving Back: A Great Way to Grow Your Practice
Friends and Colleagues,
After one of the coldest and snowiest winters on record, we're starting to see 50 degree days here in New Hampshire. For us New Englanders, that's shorts weather!
As we look forward to sunnier and warmer days, it's also important to think about ways to give back and help make others' days brighter and better. Efforts like these are important for all small businesses, including your veterinary practice; they strengthen your role in the community, differentiate you from competitors, attract new clients and boost your team's morale.
That's why in this edition of our quarterly newsletter, we're focusing on giving back. Our first article, Why Giving Back May be the Best Way to Grow Your Practice, is a valuable read for all veterinary hospital owners. In Companies Working to Make the World a Better Place, you can learn about tactics other businesses have successfully implemented. In Three Ways to Give Back that Benefit Your Practice, you get specific ideas about how to use charitable efforts to build your team's morale, encourage pet owners to come through your door for services and products, and establish your reputation as a trusted source for pet care information in your community.
In Spotlight on New Design, we feature two recent additions to the VetNetwork portfolio: Matthews Animal Clinic, a responsive site, and Kenwood Animal Hospital. We also want to offer you an exciting special on a mobile web site for your veterinary hospital. On April 21, Google will introduce a mobile search algorithm change that will negatively impact sites that aren't mobile friendly. That means if you don't have a mobile site or a responsive site, you may see your ranking in search results plummet. Our limited time discount provides the perfect means to establish your veterinary hospital's mobile friendly web presence and solidify your spot at the top of Google search results. Please click here for more information.
Thank you for taking the time to read VetNetwork's newsletter. Offering valuable information to help you make the best decisions and grow your practice is our only goal, each and every day. If you want to talk about how we can help your veterinary practice, please contact me directly at 603-743-4321.
—Mark Feltz, DVM, and the Creative Team at VetNetwork
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Many veterinary hospitals have deep ties to their communities. From donating their services to local animal shelters to sponsoring local little league teams, veterinary hospitals consistently make their presence known by giving back.
Keep Millennials Coming
Giving back as a company is becoming more important, thanks in part to the millennial generation's growing spending power. In a survey performed by Cone Communications, 78% of millennials said companies have an obligation to be socially responsible, and 79% want to work for a company that "cares about its impact on society." As millennials continue to enter the workforce, having a clear social mission can help your veterinary hospital attract top talent.
Increase Employee Satisfaction
One way companies give back is to allow employees to volunteer at charities of their choice on company time and pay. According to a study from the UnitedHealth Group, this practice is not only great for the charities involved, but also for employee morale: 78% of people who volunteered in the past year surveyed reported lower stress levels, and 76% said volunteering makes them feel healthier.
The same study also suggests encouraging your staff to volunteer promotes a better workplace: 81% said volunteering with co-workers strengthened their workplace relationships with their team, and 87% said volunteering helped them develop teamwork and people skills.
The Trend is Growing
Consumers also want to buy from companies with larger social missions. Companies like Warby Parker, TOMS, and Patagonia, which make charitable giving a large part of their corporate identity, continue to thrive in a difficult economy. For millennials, whether or not a company gives back can be a deciding factor when making a purchase.
Veterinary practices impact their communities every day by providing health care to pet owners' cherished companions. Giving back to the community can help that impact be felt beyond the confines of your examination rooms.
Wondering where to begin? Check out some of the case studies in this article below.
Giving back to your community has many benefits for your veterinary hospital. In recent years, more and more companies are making helping those in need part of their brand, corporate mission and culture — and they're seeing success as a result. Millennials in particular look to spend money with companies working to help make the world a better place.
Here we consider a few companies that have made giving back a fundamental part of who they are, whether their goal is donating goods or money, fundraising, or volunteering time.
TOMS: TOMS began as a shoe company with the mission of giving one pair of shoes to someone in a developing country for every pair sold. Since 2006, when the company was founded by Blake Mycoskie, TOMS has given away more than 35 million pairs of shoes. As a result of this remarkable success, they have expanded their product line to include eyewear, bags, apparel, accessories and coffee and give space on their website to other brands that give back.
Dog For Dog: Following the TOMS "one-for-one" model, when you buy a bag of food or treats from Dog For Dog, the company "gives another equal bag to a dog in need." Like TOMS, Dog For Dog has achieved success with this model of giving. Founded in 2011, they have long outgrown their original "closet-sized office" and donated 52,000 pounds of food last year.
Monkeez Makes a Difference: Purveyors of plush toys, this unique company describes itself as "an interactive experience that teaches children the importance of helping others in need." Each toy they sell comes with an activation code the child uses to select one of three charities. Monkeez then contributes 10% of the toy's wholesale cost to that organization on the child's behalf.
Trip Advisor: You don't need to be a consumer products company to have a great way to give back. Trip Advisor provides lunch for its employees three days a week. In exchange the company asks staff to donate the money they would use to buy lunch to a charity the employees select together.
Patagonia: Each year, Patagonia gives 20 selected employees a month of paid leave so they can complete an internship at an environmental nonprofit. Along with helping the organization, the employees' involvement helps strengthen Patagonia’s reputation as an environmentally conscious and concerned company.
AOL: AOL provides employees with many company-supported giving-back initiatives. During AOL's Monster Help Day, more than 3,000 AOL staffers donate their time to volunteer. The company also matches employee nonprofit contributions up to $250, giving staffers added incentive to give and a chance to truly make a difference in the organizations that matter to them most.
Veterinary Hospitals That Are Doing it Right
Hillside Animal Hospital: Hillside Animal Hospital highlights its charitable work on a Community page on their website. The practice enthusiastically details their charitable efforts, which includes photos that show members of their staff participating in hospital-sponsored events. Their dedication and high regard for giving back to their community comes through loud and clear — you can see how truly important these efforts are to the entire Hillside Animal Hospital team.
Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center: Along with offering free wellness examinations and spays/neuters to homeless pets and internships for local high school students, Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center in Lone Tree, CO has also partnered with National Mill Dog Rescue to create the Mercy Care Program, which is dedicated to abandoned and abused pets in need of a home.
The hospital donates medical, dental, surgical, grooming and obedience training services to restore animals to great health and overall well-being so they're ready to be adopted. The hospital's work has earned them a well-deserved reputation for giving back to their community.
Some Final Thoughts on Giving Back
As a veterinary hospital owner, you likely already allocate time and resources to helping your community. Now that you've read about the efforts of other companies, you might ask yourself: Are your efforts making the most impact? Are you involving the rest of your veterinary team? Do your clients and other local pet owners know about the ways your veterinary hospital supports the local community?
Consider integrating charitable initiatives into the mission and culture of your veterinary hospital. You will see the benefits in your reputation, in the eyes of the animals you help, in the smiles of your clients, in your team's camaraderie, and in the overall health of your practice.
From free spays and neuters to low-cost vaccination clinics, from animal shelter donations to local event sponsorships and adoption fairs, veterinary hospitals are no strangers to helping their communities. That's great news, because now more than ever companies that give back — and are vocal about it — are being rewarded with business. Pet owners are simply more interested in spending money on products and brands associated with a cause.
We know giving back makes a difference in the lives of those you help, but it can also have important benefits for your veterinary practice. Below, we discuss three ways to make a difference in your community and for your business.
Giving as a Team: Bonding with Your Staff
People drawn to the veterinary profession all share one passion: helping animals. No matter how united your team is around that common interest, there are benefits to doing more to build camaraderie and strengthen morale. Encouraging volunteer work as a group is a great way to make that happen.
According to Erin Giles, a business philanthropy consultant, volunteering provides leadership opportunities for employees, which leads to increased staff performance and fulfillment and, ultimately, increased productivity and sales. There is one important caveat: keep all charitable efforts you coordinate for your team, whether volunteer work or monetary donations, non-mandatory.
"Don't, even implicitly, pressure employees to donate to a charity," says Jeff Haden from Inc. magazine. "Sure, make it easy. Match their contributions if you like. But make donating voluntary, and never leave the impression that results are monitored on an individual basis."
Giving One for One: Encouraging Pet Owners to Spend
You probably have clients who are reluctant to spend money on annual or bi-annual preventive care examinations or who bypass the food and pet care items for sale at your veterinary hospital, preferring to shop elsewhere and maybe save a few dollars. Give them another reason to feel good about spending money at your practice by offering to donate a product or service when they make a purchase.
For example, when your clients buy a bag of pet food or come in for a wellness examination, let them know your hospital will donate an item to a local shelter. Keep a large box of items to be donated in your waiting area so clients see the results of their efforts. When the drop off is made, take pictures to post on Facebook and send out an email thanking your clients for their support. Let them know that by spending their pet dollars at your practice, they have made a difference by helping pets in need.
Giving Your Knowledge: Becoming the Trusted Source
Pet parents want to know how to provide the best care for their pets. Rather than leaving them to turn to "Dr. Google" for answers, get out in your community and become their trusted source for pet care information.
To reach pet owners in your community, go beyond social media. Choose face-to-face opportunities, such as:
Getting the Word Out
According to a study by Cone Communications and Echo Research, 82% of U.S. consumers, particularly moms and millennials, consider a company's social responsibility when deciding which products or services to buy. That's a very good reason to make your volunteer activities, donations, sponsorships and other community service a prominent part of how you market your veterinary practice. So don't be bashful about sharing news of what you and your team are doing to help: publicize your efforts on social media, in email newsletters to your clients, on your website and to local newspapers.
When done right, giving back can benefit your veterinary hospital in many ways. Don't miss out: Start thinking about what you can do today.
Matthews Animal Clinic
Matthews Animal Clinic wanted a modern and minimalist website and their preferences are translated perfectly in this clean and bold responsive design. Responsive websites reformat automatically to adapt to whatever device they are being viewed on. They are a great way to offer pet owners a very mobile friendly experience without sacrificing any of your full site content. (And Google loves responsive sites too!)
Kenwood Animal Hospital and Canine Clubhouse
Kenwood Animal Hospital and Canine Clubhouse wanted to give their redesigned site a premium appearance that felt both classic and contemporary. Together with our designers, they selected rich, natural tones and timeless design elements that captured the exact look that appeals to their clients.
Google's Mobile Search Algorithm is About to Change
On April 21, Google will launch a mobile search algorithm change that will give ranking preference to websites that are mobile friendly. A mobile friendly site is defined as either a distinct mobile site designed specifically for mobile users or a responsive site that adapts automatically to the device it is being viewed on. Google said this algorithmic change will have a "significant impact" on mobile search results.
What does that mean for you? If your veterinary hospital doesn't have a mobile or responsive website, it is very possible that after April 21, you will see your mobile search ranking drop.
Take Advantage of a Limited-Time Offer to Go Mobile for Less
There is still time to protect your online visibility. Sign up for a mobile site by April 30 and you will receive a 30% discount off the normal price — that's $250 in savings.
VetNetwork's mobile sites are designed to deliver exactly the information mobile users want, simply and quickly. Features include:
According to Thrive Analytics' Local Search Report, 60% of U.S. adults now choose smartphones or tablets over PCs to find information before buying products and services offline. Don't risk losing your search engine visibility, sign up to take advantage of this special offer today.
VetNetwork is a full-service veterinary marketing company dedicated to the needs of veterinary hospitals. Our professional graphic designers and writers are here to help take your practice to the next level. If it's time to re-design your website, or add a mobile site or our proven SEO services, give us a call today!
Mark Feltz, DVM and the Staff at VetNetwork
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