Within the last few months, we’ve all discovered one thing: nothing is normal right now. Whether your business has open or closed during the first few months of the pandemic, customer and client habits have changed, and most likely for good.
But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed: the importance of the local community.
As we’ve seen with several successful local businesses across the country, serving the greater good of our communities in the age of COVID-19, has never been more important.
From restaurants and home services to non-profits and utility providers, here are four examples of how businesses can help the community in the COVID-19 era.
“Due to the COVID-19 crisis, everything is working differently now,” says Maurice Baker, Manager of Community Relations, Georgia Natural Gas. “As we were developing plans to support the non-profits in our community, it became clear that we really needed to concentrate on seniors and make sure they would continue to receive meals.”
And that’s exactly what they did. Baker says the company immediately increased its support to organizations like Meals on Wheels, and other non-profits it had supported in the past, such as The Giving Kitchen.
Georgia Natural Gas, however, needed help getting the message out. That’s where WXIA steps in to help create and amplify this message of showing seniors they can have meals delivered without having to leave the comfort of their own home during this crisis.
“Working together, serving together has been one of our mottos, and we’ve been able to do that with the station (WXIA) for years,” says Baker.
“As soon as we learned about COVID-19, we knew that we would have to shift our strategy,” says Natalye Paquin, President, and CEO of non-profit Points of Light.
In order to keep its global network of volunteers connected to local communities during these difficult times, Points of Light decided to put a new amplified emphasis on storytelling.
“Telling the stories and recognizing the power of people in their communities is more important than ever,” says Paquin. “We want to lift up and celebrate good work.”
Showcasing its content via HeartThreads, a content series focused on ‘the best stories about the best of us’ seemed like the perfect fit. Sharing inspiring content in a time where hope is much needed, allowed Points of Light to continue its mission, all while increasing its social media presence, and more importantly, getting more inspiring stories to tell.
When the pandemic first hit, Lifetime Windows and Siding’s Director of Marketing, Phil O’Dell asked two questions: How would my business stay active in the marketplace and how can my business help support the community during such a difficult time? By partnering with TEGNA, Lifetime Windows and Siding had no problem doing both.
To remain active in the marketplace, a broadcast campaign was launched with 9News to let the Denver area know that while running its largest promotion to date, its teams are adhering to CDC guidelines to operate safely in client homes.
To help the community in such a difficult time, the same campaign let community residents know that Lifetime Siding & Windows are partners with Food Bank of the Rockies. “A lot of people out there are struggling and we want to make sure nobody goes hungry,” says O’Dell. “To date, we donated about $10,000, and we’re really proud of that.”
“I realized we had to make some drastic business decisions when the reports started coming out about how serious the virus was,” says Richie Reese, owner of all four Hooley House locations in Cleveland, Ohio.
“As a business owner, you have to be flexible. You have to change with the environment,” Reese says. “So instead of Taco Tuesday, we’re doing TP Tuesday, where we give a free roll of toilet paper out with every order.” The Hooley House also created Thankful Thursdays, a recognition program where one nominated nurse a week will win a $50 gift certificate to the restaurant.
By deciding to pivot instead of panic, The Hooley House has been able to operate as essential business, providing food, and more importantly hope and kindness, during such an uncertain time. “We’re just trying to help the community, and have a little bit of fun while doing it,” says Reese.