Participating in charitable events is worthwhile on a number of levels. Namely, you’re raising funds for people in need and hitching your store name to a good cause, which builds emotional bridges with your customers.
But even if you furiously flyer the venue with store pamphlets and business cards, how many people will really remember that you attended—let alone sponsored—the event?
Yelton Fine Jewelers of West Chester, Ohio, definitely made its presence known when it acted as title sponsor at a recent benefit for neighborhood school, Mother Teresa Catholic Elementary School.
For the Night Under the Stars 2012 event, which raised $80,000 in funding for the elementary school, Yelton’s contributed more than $5,000 in jewelry prizes through a fun and highly memorable promotion.
Guests were given the option of buying one helium balloon for $30 or four balloons for $100 for a “diamond balloon pop” game. Balloon-holders were told to pop their purchases at a specified time to see what was inside.
Each “bang!” actually resulted in a win, with every balloon hiding one of a variety of semiprecious stones. But one lucky gal took home a pendant crafted in 14k white gold featuring a 1 ct. oval diamond surrounded by round brilliant-cut diamonds (valued at more than $5,000.)
“Initially the school approached us about a sponsorship,” recalls retailer Mark Yelton. “Once we had agreed to that, we realized there was a greater opportunity for us…to develop something fun and unique for the event.”
Yelton cites “community exposure” as the main reason his store sponsored the event, but “as a locally owned business, we can’t be successful without support from other successful local businesses, schools, etcetera,” he adds. “If the same people that were generous enough to attend this event and support the school will continue to do so—and at the same time support us as well—we’ve all won.”
At the very least, Yelton hopes the balloon-pop runners-up will want to turn their oval gemstones into pieces of jewelry. “We believe this type of exposure positions us as a brand with a heart—a retailer who cares about the community. Then maybe we’ll be the first, and only, jeweler they think of when it’s gift-giving time.”