Planting trees can be a great way to demonstrate how much you care about your community and the environment.
A tree planting activity will probably be done in conjunction with your local city or state officials. You will be able to find information on your town or city’s website.
If parks are important to your customers consider this type of project. In big cities, parks are a getaway for the citizens. In small towns, there often isn’t enough money to maintain parks. Either situation provides you with an opportunity to help.
Back in the mid-90s while working at Starbucks in New York City, Paul partnered with the City Park Foundation for tree plantings. Starbucks purchased trees to be planted and helped provide the labor for the planting. This allowed the city to spend that time and money on some other project. To this day, Starbucks continues partnering with cities on projects like this.
While your primary purpose for doing these type of events should be a true, genuine care for the environment, if you’re going to be engaging in these out-of-store activities, be sure to do things that will help you get credit for your efforts.
Some examples include:
- Have a banner made that says “Official Tree Planting Day” sponsored by your company. Include your logo.
- Allow customers to get involved with in-store sign-ups and signage.
- Have all volunteers wear t-shirts with your company logo on it while doing the plantings.
- Invite local media – TV, print, radio, and online to cover the event.
- Report your efforts following the event. Number of hours volunteered, number of trees planted.
- Work with the local officials to see if a permanent sign may be placed marking where you worked and identifying your company for the contribution.
Sampling & Demonstrations
At Starbucks, we took advantage of the situation and had a sampling van and team offering cold beverages in the heat of the summer. Coupled with a volunteer event, these were great sampling opportunities.
Events like tree plantings need to be something you’re genuinely interested in. Doing things like this simply as a stunt to get attention will eventually backfire. People don’t want to be tricked or duped, and they’ll feel that way if they realize you’re exploiting a cause to look good, but don’t ultimately believe in what you’re doing.