’Tis the season for giving. Use your salon’s clout and expertise to give back to the community with these easy ideas.
1. Seniority Rules
Visit a local nursing home and give free manicures and pedicures to the residents. It’s especially timely if you fit the services in right before the nursing home’s holiday party.
2. Feed the Hungry
Get the entire salon staff together on a morning when the salon’s generally closed and volunteer by serving meals at a soup kitchen. You might also be able to help by setting up tables, preparing food, and cleaning after the meal.
3. Finishing Touches
Contact a nearby Dress for Success affiliate (it’s a worldwide organization that provides suits and other professional attire to women who couldn’t afford them otherwise) via www.dressforsuccess.org and offer to do the hair, make-up, and nails for candidates who are getting prepared for job interviews.
4. Lifeblood of Your Business
Let clients in on the action by hosting a blood drive in the salon’s parking lot. Consider offering clients a one-day discount on services if they participate.
5. Ditch the Dress Code
Every Friday during the month of December, let employees wear a specified item — like flip flops, jeans, or T-shirts — that doesn’t usually belong in the salon environment for $5 a day. Donate the funds to charity.
6. Host a Salon-a-Thon
Host a one-day event (it can even be an all-nighter, especially if you get help from neighboring salons) in which all the proceeds from manicures, pedicures, haircuts, etc., go to charity. Advertise the event in local media to draw a large crowd.
7. Adopt a Family
Instead of (or in addition to) exchanging Christmas gifts with each other, ask every member of the salon staff to pitch in $15 each and adopt a family in need. Buy presents like clothing and shoes in the appropriate sizes, school supplies, and toys and games.
8. A Few Clicks
Instead of using Google.com, switch to GoodSearch.com for your Internet searches. Powered by Yahoo!, this search engine donates 50 percent of its revenue to charities and schools designated by its users. The money GoodSearch donates comes from its advertisers, making it free for you.
9. Good Tipper
Since teachers in many school districts have to pay for copies and other school supplies out of their own pockets, start a Tips 2 Teachers program in which you adopt a class for a semester (you can contact a teacher in December, then adopt the class for January – June semester) and donate half of your tips to the teacher to pay for classroom-related supplies. Post a sign in your salon that tells clients that’s where half of their tip money is going.
10. Silence Is Golden
Host a charity silent auction for a week at the salon. First, ask clients to donate items for sale (for example, if a client manages a restaurant, she might donate a restaurant gift card), put the items on display in the waiting area, then make sure clients include their name and contact info as they bid for the items, so you can contact the winners the following week.
11. Do the Can-Can
Collect food for a local food bank or toys for Toys for Tots (www.toysfortots.org). E-mail clients ahead of time to ensure they bring the items with them during their regular appointments.
12. Pamper Party
Pick a group the salon staff feels strongly about — such as cancer survivors, police officers, or even the recently laid off — and host a free pampering event for this group. You can give these clients a choice of a free manicure, pedicure, chair massage, or other beauty service.
13. Art of Charity
Create a special December-only nail art design and let clients know that the profits from that design only will be donated to a charitable organization hand-picked by the salon.
14. Bag Ladies
Find a nonprofit that’s holding a holiday party for its clients, like Big Brothers/Big Sisters (www.bbbs.org), and donate some beauty items (like nail polish or files and buffers) for a gift bag.
15. Luck of the Draw
Raffle off a package of salon services and retail items. Ask for a minimum donation of $5 for clients to enter the raffle.
16. Run(a)way Hit
Host an after-hours charity fashion show in the salon. Nail, hair, and make-up artists work together to create stylish looks to match the latest trends (for example, leopard print nails to go along with a safari style outfit). Clients and friends will be audience members, and generous donations are taken at the door.
17. Work the Web
Add a “charity” tab to your salon website where you publish profiles of employees talking about their favorite charities, why they donate, then add a link directly to the charity’s home page so viewers can contribute.
18. Do Your Part
Plaster posters from Cut It Out: Salons Against Domestic Abuse in bathrooms and other private areas of your salon. The posters give clients a toll-free number to call if they or someone they love is suffering from physical or emotional abuse. Order the posters from www.cutitout.org.
19. Certifiably Good
Advertise special salon gift certificates in larger-than-usual amounts (like $250 or $500) and let clients know that 10% of these unique certificate sales will go to charity.
20. Second Time Around
Have staff and clients bring in their gently-used unwanted clothing and accessories, then hold an event at which everyone can purchase these items for donations.
21. Healthy Competition
Have a one-day “Iron Tech” nail art competition in your own salon in a category like “most intricate 3-D acrylic design” or “best handpainted flower.” Then, for the next two weeks, ask clients for a minimum donation of $5 to vote for the design they think is the best. The tech who created the winning design donates the entire pot of money to the charity of her choice.
22. Luxury Lock-Up
Recruit the elites and celebrities in your community (city councilmen, firefighters, prominent business owners, etc.) for a high-end version of the traditional “Jail-N-Bail” fundraiser. At the Luxury Lock-up, you treat these leaders who “turn themselves in” to food and beverages, nail, massage, and other stress-relieving services, and soothing music, while they make phone calls to family, friends and business associates to get pledges for your organization.
23. Walk It Off
Set up foot massage stations (or back massages, if you have the licensing) at a local charity walk-a-thon. Staff members and clients can also walk at the event.
24. Give Credit Where It’s Due
Cut out a giant green paper tree and attach it to a wall in your salon. Then, sell paper “ornaments” for a dollar. Every client who buys one gets her name on an ornament for all to see. Donate the proceeds to charity.
25. Message in a Bottle
Conduct a recyclable bottle drive. Have clients collect and bring in their empty bottles to help the planet, then donate the proceeds from the bottle depot to charity. (Make sure your state has deposits on cans and bottles first.)
KEYWORDS: charity, business tools, marketing/promotions, professional image