Invest in your community, you’ll feel good
The end of the baseball season is upon us. I have been an advertiser with a local AA team for more than a decade and part of the deal is that I get a bunch of tickets to give to clients for a night out at the ballpark. Of course, the team gets my check and I get some signage at the park as well. With ten games left in their season, I found I had a lot of leftover tickets—I am guessing many did not attend this year due to the rain in May and the heat in July and August. One of my pet peeves is when tickets to an event go unused. What to do?
I called a friend of mine who drives a cab and is a huge advocate for the poorer kids of our community. You can always see him at our City Council meetings holding the Mayor’s feet to the fire on what to do for the kids. “Hey Robert, I have 20 extra tickets to any game this season—they’re yours if you can rustle up 20 kids and find a way to get them there.”
At 7am the next morning, he had tickets in hand and was furiously trying to find the kids (and additional transport) to have a fantastic night at a professional baseball game.
I called the General Manager of the team and let him know what I had done. Immediately he said, “Count me in for a hotdog, drink, and a bag of chips for each kid.”
So, I am feeling very good about doing a nice thing without looking for any return benefit. There were no “this outing sponsored by” signs or anything. This was a deal that was cut between three people—period.
And then a strange thing happened. I got a call asking about some travel. It was not in my specialty, so I offered to refer her to another colleague. She declined and said she had heard about what I did from her daughter who was a classmate of one of the kids who went to the game. She only called me because she wanted to deal with someone that was giving back to the community I explained what I did and how my agency works. I thanked her for the opportunity and we said goodbye.
And then a stranger thing happened. Later that afternoon, I received a call from another woman looking for travel. This time, she fit my demographic and she had a solid group of solo moms that were looking to travel. Technically they were not all single parents, but they would be traveling alone with their children. To make a long story short, over Thanksgiving there will be 20 families traveling from Baltimore to the Bahamas on the Carnival Pride.
All because I gave away some tickets to a baseball game to a taxi driver.
Certainly we all look to invest our marketing efforts wisely and efficiently. But sometimes it makes sense to just invest in ourselves. I offered the tickets from “me”, not my company. I did not want any recognition from it. I just wanted to let some kids have a good time before they headed back to school. Maybe it allowed them to experience something they never had before.
I did end up earning a booking and (hopefully) gaining a client or two beyond this; but that was not the intent. I believe in karma. And I think this shows.
Invest in your community when you can. It will pay dividends. It may be only a good feeling for you—a win in my book. It may result in some notoriety—not too bad. Or it may actually translate into revenue! The key is to do it because it is the right thing to do and because it feels good.