Convenience Store Food Service Consultant- Dean Dirks: News, Articles, Events

October 22, 2009

Social Responsibility

The convenience store industry raises a tremendous amount of money for various causes. Our industry has a large impact with its support of national and local charities.

Commitment to funding raising is admirable and makes our jobs rewarding. At the same time, it may be a business strategy not utilized enough. Most consumers’ lack of trust towards big businesses is at an all-time high. Banking and Wall Street heightened these feelings of distrust to a level not seen since the great depression. Cause marketing may bridge some of these feelings.

The next generation (22-30) is even more sensitive to cause marketing

  • 83% will trust a company if it is socially/environmentally responsible
  • 89% are likely to switch from one brand to another if the latter supports a cause
  • 79% want to work for a company that cares about how it impacts society
  • 74% listen to a company’s messages if they have a deep commitment to a cause

Cause marketing is a big opportunity for our industry. As the price of fuel goes over $3 again, fuel companies are viewed as the villains again. Consumers don’t understand how the average guy can’t afford to drive yet oil companies are posting strong profits. In a recent poll of 20 industries ranked on trust, fuel companies came out 19th. I am not promoting this thinking but trying to point out our industry has issues that we can turn into opportunities.

I would like to share a cause I have been involved in. 20 years ago. We felt our customers and employees didn’t see our company as an organization interested in anything other than generating profit.

We decided the charity must benefit kids and avoid high administrative costs.  After completing my due diligence we felt that getting involved with St. Jude Children’s Hospital was our best fit.

During the past three years, 84 cents of every dollar received has supported the research and treatment at St. Jude. Its mission is to find cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.

Children never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family’s inability to pay.

St. Jude Halloween Promotion sponsored by Coors

During October, employees at the participating establishments will ask patrons to make a $1 donation to St. Jude. The donors will have the opportunity to write their names on pumpkin-themed pinups which will be displayed in each location through Halloween.

Since its inception in 1992, the St. Jude Halloween Promotion has raised more than $41 million to help kids battling cancer at St. Jude.

Currently, the St. Jude Halloween Promotion has four national partners that are convenience stores: Casey’s General Stores, Hess Corporation, TravelCenters of America and Petro Stopping Centers.

Convenience stores can help by visiting www.stjude.org/halloween

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