Starting your own office holiday traditions of charity and good will doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Just remember to start small and let your ideas grow and change over time. Here are some basic steps to follow to help get you started:
1. Assess The Needs Of Your Community.
Some communities need help with food drives, others need support with blood drives, while still others need assistance gathering specific items for children and families such as toys, blankets, and clothing. Contact local charitable organizations and churches to find out the specific needs of your area and how your office can best be of assistance.
2. Devise A Plan.
Once you have assessed the needs of your community, decide how you want to contribute. Perhaps you can donate personal dental hygiene products (toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash) to a local shelter. Maybe you can offer some basic dental care to families who can’t afford to pay for the services. Or maybe you can choose a family to do a Sub-for-Santa or conduct food, toy, clothing, and blanket drives to donate to larger organizations. Whatever you decide, make sure it is something manageable that you and your staff can handle along with your regular dental duties.
3. Inspire Your Staff and Patients.
Motivating your staff and patients is a key element of making a philanthropic effort successful. The people involved need to believe in the value of the project or it simply won’t succeed. Yes, you can hold a food drive in your office and probably get some donations. However, if you make it fun and rewarding for the people who organize it and the people who contribute to it, then the return rate will be much higher. Meet with your staff and brainstorm ways that your office can accomplish this. Perhaps, you will want to put yourself on display like Dr. Edington and Dr. Sofferman did by dressing up in some type of costume. Or maybe you will host a holiday party like the staff at Adventure Dental and ask the attendees to bring along items to donate. Be creative in your approach to your campaign. This will create a “buzz” for your practice in the community and get people interested in learning more about what your office has to offer in regards to dental care, too.
4. Market, Market, Market.
The very best endeavor can’t succeed if people don’t know about it. Hang colorful posters in your office waiting room and the treatment rooms to advertise the event or the project. Pass out flyers to patients after their appointments. Encourage your patients (preferably with some kind of fun incentive) to “like” your page on Facebook and then consistently update it with information about the campaign. Using social media is one of the best avenues you have to get the word out. It’s free and everyone is using it, so make sure you don’t let this valuable resource go unutilized.
5. Follow Through.
If you promise you’re going to post pictures on Facebook of the dentist in a turkey costume, then make sure you do it. If you host a holiday party as part of a food drive, then post pictures of the event, too. After you have inspired your staff and patients with excitement about the event, they will want to know the results. Let them be part of the entire process and they’ll be more excited to participate in future office events.
6. Just Do It.
The most important thing you can do is just get started. Don’t wait for next year to give back to your community: think about something you can do right now in your office. After all, the holiday season is an ideal time for people to think more about others and less about themselves. Allowing your office staff and patients to be part of a joint effort to help the community will most assuredly bring about good things for all involved. As Albert Schweitzer once said, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” n