Doing Good Is Good for Business: Safe Parking for Homeless
There’s nothing wrong if the way you give back is also tied to your business. So, there’s no reason to feel guilty about it. We’re talking about cause marketing. It refers to a type of program in which a for-profit company partners with or donates to a nonprofit organization. It’s a win-win for both partners as these initiatives benefit the greater good by increasing donations to the nonprofit while boosting brand awareness, engagement and potential revenue for the for-profit company.
Customers Care About Brands Who Care
Not convinced doing good is good for your business? The Salesforce State of the Connected Customer Report recently dove into how business ethics and corporate social responsibility impacted a customer’s perception of a brand. According to the results, 68% of customers said they wouldn’t buy products from a company with poor ethics and 56% of customers actively seek philanthropic businesses to buy from. What’s more, 67% percent of customers said they thought companies were responsible for giving back to the communities where they do business. With these stats in mind, it’s clear that cause-related marketing can boost customer engagement, revenue and brand awareness via increased word-of-mouth marketing and social media.
Types of Cause Marketing
There are two primary types of cause marketing: collaborative partnerships and corporate social responsibility. Collaborative partnerships occur when a for-profit company partners with a non-profit to raise money and awareness for their cause. Think Walgreens’s Red Nose Day campaign. The pharmacy chain sold novelty red noses nationwide during the month of June to raise awareness for childhood poverty, plus partnered with celebrities on social media. Corporate social responsibility refers to a company’s self-imposed set of programs. This might include corporate giving, volunteer time off, gift matching or a brand site that encourages visitors to donate to non-profit partners.
Safe Parking: A Great Cause for Garage Owners
Wondering what causes would perk up your business? The most successful cause marketing campaigns are those that align with your brand. Since we know you’re in the parking services industry, we’ve got a great idea. Safe parking for the homeless. More than 553,742 people are currently homeless in America. In Los Angeles, a quarter of the population is living out of cars, vans, campers and recreational vehicles.
Parking vs. Shelters
Why cars instead of homeless shelters? Cars provide a sense of control and privacy while shelter beds are often in short supply. Or sometimes, the shelters themselves are unsafe or located in unsafe neighborhoods.
The Safety Struggle
However, finding safe parking is often a challenge when many residential streets have laws that prevent people from sleeping inside their cars. Plus, those that do park on the street risk theft and vandalization. So for the unsheltered homeless, finding a place to rest for more than just an hour or two can be a struggle.
Homeless but Hardworking
It’s also important to note that many of these homeless individuals are employed and have a stable job, but financial burdens like student loans and exorbitant rent leave them living in a car. “These people are not going to be prioritized in the homeless service system because they’re not able to advocate for themselves, and they don’t have severe healthcare needs,” says Uyeda Kantrim, program director of Safe Parking L.A. “This is a poverty issue”.
California Takes the Lead
To help solve the problem, California nonprofits have partnered with cities and counties to fund safe parking programs that provide lots that grant people and families living out of cars a safe and legal place for an uninterrupted night’s rest. Individuals apply online and submit their vehicle’s registration, insurance, and driver’s license. After interviewing and getting approved, they gain access to a lot. Each evening, lots open and the individuals sign in, sleep and leave the next morning. However the programs do more than just provide a place to sleep, they also connect the homeless with resources that may help them acquire permanent housing and gain stability.
Wondering how these lots work? Families might be at a lot for a few weeks, while a person under 30 with a job might stay six weeks. The average length of stay is about six months. Each program also has different logistics. Some lots offer restrooms with running water, while others only provide portable toilets. Most operate during the nighttime hours, while some are open 24/7. Most locations have an element of security on site, like a guard or case manager. Small lots are also ideal because they’re more palatable to residents plus prioritize people within the area, so they directly support the local community.
Do Good, Drive Business
Ready to join the safe parking lots for homeless movement? Reach out to an organization like Safe Parking L.A. Even if they aren’t in your area they may be able to connect you to other local organizations that will help you put your garage or lot to good use for a good cause, helping the homeless find safe shelter and get back on their feet. Want more ideas on how to drive your business? Sign up for The Valet Spot newsletter. We’ll keep you up to date on the lastest valet business trends and best practices.