On May 30th, 2008, Champion, a windows, siding, and patio room factory direct company had a full page color advertisement in the Denver Post announcing their special two day “Military Appreciation Sale.”  There were great photos of their products in the ad, a thanks to the troops statement and the yellow ribbon logo, as well as three additional things that caught my eye.  First was a big yellow multi-point star with the words “We’re Doubling Our Donation!”  all in caps using a bold font.  Beneath it read in blue ” Champion will donate $100 to the Colorado National Guard Foundation for every purchase made.” (Saturday and Sunday only.)  Doing a little online research, I learned that the Foundation “assists soldiers and airmen who are experiencing financial hardship and need assistance to pay their rent or utilities.”

Below the star was a large photo of two Guards in uniform – one male and the other female with the caption, “Come in this weekend & meet your local military personnel & say Thank You in person.”  Last was a photo of company executives making their 2007 presentation of a large check for $19,300 to the Colorado National Guard Foundation.  More than one-third of the full page ad was dedicated to highlighting the philanthropic focus assicated with this weekend sale.  Nicely done, Champion.  I hope you got a good draw from this ad! 

When I went to their website, however, I was disappointed because Champion has missed a few great opportunities to feature their philanthropic efforts and stand out from other window and siding companies, enhancing their credibility and reputation.  They do not have a page highlighting their community involvement on the website that I could find.  When I went to their press release page, there were no releases posted for 2008 at all.  There was a release for the 2007 Colorado National Guard promotion. 

I STRONGLY encourage you to consider adding a page to your company’s website to highlight what you do in the community- customers care!  It can be the factor that tips someone into making their purchase from your company so don;t make the same mistake as Champion.  Also, have a system in place and someone assigned to write and release press releases.  If you are not comfortable releasing it yourself, have your nonprofit partner do that to benefit both you and them.  You may need to provide assistance in developing a quality release depending on the nonprofit you are partnering with but it can have more weight in the eyes of the community coming from them, not you.