I come from a place where giving back is always part of the deal. On my own since I was 18 or so, there was a tremendous amount of people who took a chance on me and it’s part of my fabric to pay it forward. I quickly learned that being charitable is also good business and so it’s been part of my business model since the very beginning – whether it’s my own business or someone else’s. Of course it makes me feel good; it’s good for public relations and to build good will for your organization. It will elevate your brand and even increase ticket sales. It feels good, but recently I’ve started rethinking it.
At the Titans we do a corporate ticket package called, “When You Assist, You Score.” We implemented it last year and it was a great success. It allowed for businesses and individuals to purchase tickets for area non-profits in order for their clients and kids to come to games for free. People liked it. I liked it too because it worked. It was great to be able to give away tickets to kids who ordinarily wouldn’t be able to come to a game. But should we really call that charity?
I don’t think I’d call it charity at all. My goal is always to keep this hockey team in Trenton – all of us in the minor leagues are looking to keep our teams in the community. Finding people to buy tickets for those who can’t – that’s good, but exposing a new fan to the game is even better. I don’t want just a free ticket or a one shot deal. I want a new fan. I want a kid or an adult to come to the game and have fun and want to come back. So why not start talking about these programs as a way to expand our fan base, expose kids to the sport, give them and their parents a local team to follow in the newspapers and if we’re doing our jobs, in the schools? Charity? Nope! Good business? Yep.
We’re going to make the small shift in thinking in Trenton. My gut tells me that this is how we can build new fans with the help of local businesses and individuals, and it doesn’t feel like charity – it feels more like a partnership. I bet you it works.