For Bradley Marks, president of IW Marks Jewelers, community outreach events to benefit cancer charities are more than doing something for the community. It’s just as much about giving something back to his parents, both of whom died from cancer.
"If it’s cancer related we’re involved," says Marks. "Whether it’s a national or local cancer organization or event."
In August Marks added a blood drive to benefit the University of Texas’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to his many cancer-related events. For more than a decade the Houston retailer had partnered with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center for blood donation events, but this year the group didn’t contact him.
Aware of Marks’ annual blood drives, M.D. Anderson contacted the retailer in April with a late August date in mind for a blood drive. In coordinating the event with Marks, M.D. Anderson had a goal of 20 to 25 pints of blood. "We beat that goal and submitted 35 pints of blood," says Marks.
Marks had some success snagging passersby with the M.D. Anderson truck parked outside his store from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Aug. 21. He sent press releases to local news outlets, put up posters in the strip center, and got the word out on Facebook and Twitter.
The major push to promote the event came with sponsored ads from classic rock radio station KKRW. "This is one of many radio stations that are part of our promotional mix," says Marks. "They not only provided sponsored ads, they also did a live spot from the store the day of the blood drive."
Marks encouraged his staff to donate blood and contacted customers to schedule donation times. Those who donated or just dropped by the day of the event could participate in a drawing for two IW Marks—brand watches and a weekend for two at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio.