Some of Dan Schuyler’s best ideas come in the middle of the night. This happens so often that his wife gave him a mobile device with a dictation feature. Last November, during one of his sleep-deprived inspirational moments, the idea of creating a cross-promotional campaign with other area businesses to help local nonprofit organizations popped in to his head.
Five months later, the first three of 19 cross-promotions have begun, giving the campaign its official start. As the co-owner of Lily & Co. Jewelry Gallery, Schuyler and his business partner Karen Bell are extremely active with Sanibel Island’s nonprofits and local business groups.
Given their level of involvement in the Florida island community, Schuyler and Bell noticed that the same people keep committing time and money to the area’s charitable groups. The goal of his cross-promotional campaign was to relieve some that financial strain on local business owners and let tourists chip in. (Tourism fuels roughly 85 percent of the island’s economy.)
As part of the campaign, Schuyler and Bell will match funds for select menu, drink, and beverage items ordered at area restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. The 19 businesses each select a popular menu item that’s a hot seller with locals and visitors alike. The business owner can choose to create a new menu item or rename a signature item in honor of the jewelry store’s namesake and main spokes-dog Lily, Bell’s Labradoodle. (Some Lily-inspired menu items include the Lily Colada, the oft-ordered piña colada at area restaurant Timbers. The Lily Snowball is another campaign-inspired renaming of Bailey Coffee Bar’s signature white chocolate coconut latté.)
Jeret Foshee stands near a Lily poster at Bailey Coffee Bar. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Lysiak of the Island Reporter)
When a cross-promotion campaign menu item is sold, roughly 5 to 10 percent of the price goes to the business owner’s designated nonprofit. Schuyler and Bell’s only rule is that the beneficiary must be a local charity. The 19 businesses and the store owners direct their proceeds to 14 area nonprofits.
“National charities have lots of donors, many large corporate donors with deep pockets,” says Schuyler. “Sanibel Island charities and nonprofits don’t have the breadth and depth of contributors that bigger charitable national organizations have.”
Actual dollar-per-item donations from the 19 businesses average from $1.50 to $2 on the low end to more than $4 for more costly food and drink menu items like the Corner Grill’s Dragon Rolls.
“That works out to be 5 to 10 percent of the menu item’s cost, which we’ll match dollar-for-dollar,” says Schuyler.
Karen Bell and Dan Schuyler (right) and George and Wendy Schnapp (left) at Corner Grill. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Lysiak of the Island Reporter)
Every three months, the 19 participating businesses will submit their numbers to the jewelry store owners. When the totals are tabulated and the funds matched by Schuyler and Bell, a check will be cut and forwarded to the charities.
To give the campaign equal exposure during high and low tourist seasons (American tourists visit Sanibel during October to May and international tourists tend to favor the summer months), each month a new restaurant will be posted.
The campaign is so new that Schuyler and Bell haven’t had the opportunity to run the actual numbers to determine average monthly charitable donations. It’s also too early to determine how the campaign will benefit their business. But the duo looks at this campaign like other community outreach efforts they do.
“The one thing Karen and I totally believe in is Sanibel Island,” says Schuyler. “What we give always comes back to us tenfold. People come into the store and always thank us for what we do for the community. This is who we are as people, and it just happens to bring benefits to our business.”
Proceeds from Corner Café’s Lily Colada will benefit the Ding Darling Wildlife Rescue
Proceeds from Bailey Coffee Bar’s Lily Snowball will benefit F.I.S.H. (Friends in Service Here)
Proceeds from Over-Easy Café’s Over-easy Orange Roll will benefit Onyx-Breezy Foundation
Proceeds from Twilight Café’s Dragon Roll will benefit PURRE
Proceeds from Timbers’ Grouper Bites will benefit F.I.S.H. (Friends in Service Here)