It is the holiday season and your customers, strategic partners, friends and others are either planning their own parties and other activities or looking forward to attending upcoming gatherings. So if you haven’t scheduled your own event, get started now.
Cindy and Geoff Worrell, branch managers of Franklin American Mortgage Company, West Wareham, Mass., are known for hosting and supporting a variety of events. They especially enjoy planning holiday programs. Following are a few of their current plans, along with several other suggestions that you can adapt.
- Toy Drive— “We collect toys for our December toy drive for families in need through a local foundation (Dick Melloni Youth Foundation), said Cindy. “We match each client’s donation with one toy, and our company matches each donation as well.”
- Food Collection: “Our office has a grocery shopping cart so that clients and friends in the community can drop off food and we then match triple items collected,” she said. “This is for the seniors – Council on Aging – to fill their shelves for the Thanksgiving season,” added Geoff. “This is done year-round, with a special emphasis on the holidays.”
- Music City Bowl: Franklin American Mortgage is the lead sponsor for the Music City Bowl on December 30th. “Although we are far away from Nashville, we sponsor a local Bowl Party for clients, business associates, and friends,” Cindy noted.
- Other Support: The Worrells provide other support as well. For instance: they include Habitat for Humanity stickers on their holiday cards sent to 3,000 past clients/others; help raise money for youth music scholarships during holiday and other performances; and participate in a Wine Tasting Holiday fundraiser for the Wareham Foundation for Education. “We welcome the chance to assist worthwhile groups throughout the year, but of course the holidays are a special time, with so many deserving people,” Cindy said.
In addition to the above holiday activities, consider the following:
- Christmas Trees for Customers—Arrange for a Christmas tree discount at a local nursery/lot. Invite customers to pick out a tree and enjoy hot cocoa and cider refreshments. It’s a great way to show thanks to customers and a good promotion for the nursery.
- Christmas Caroling—This may seem like an “old fashioned” idea, but it can be a festive way to entertain a neighborhood and strengthen ties with your carolers—Realtors, builders and others. You might perform an area where a new customer recently moved.
- Open House—As an alternative to the traditional (and more expensive) holiday party, you can invite customers to drop by your office after work for refreshments. Offer special activities for children.
- New Year’s Eve—Create a family-friendly party at a community center or other location. Have a committee of young people plan special activities for their group.
The Worrells offer a few suggestions for planning holiday activities. “First, it’s always good to co-host or sponsor an activity with a Realtor, builder or other group,” Cindy emphasized. “It helps share the work involved and the credit.” Geoff pointed out that, “You certainly want to check the community calendar to make sure there are no conflicts. Also, try to make sure that the events take only a portion of a day – especially if they are scheduled for a weekend. Everyone is busy, and asking for part of a day will certainly help increase the attendance and improve the effectiveness.”