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1. You can decide ahead of time how much you want to spend, and then write individual checks in proportion to responses.
2. Send each charity a copy of cards that selected them, in case they send acknowledgements.
3. Historically it has been cheaper to put stamps on cards than pay a business reply rate on only those that are returned. You could let customers pay postage, but that would defeat purpose!
4. Printing cards for several years in advance makes them really inexpensive, and including them in my Christmas card gets them into my customers' hands at no extra cost. The down side, however, is that if something changes, cards may be unusable.
5. I wouldn't suggest letting individuals write-in a charity... you'll get too many different ones, which will be very expensive by time you write a check that is an amount worth sending, research addresses, and keep track of it all.
6. We tried to select charities so that there would be something for everyone: three major diseases (Heart, Cancer, Diabetes) and one for animal lovers (Actors and Others for Animals). Now, something for September 11 might be appropriate as well.
7. Several of my customers have told me that they always look forward to getting my cards every year (we always use humorous cards), and appreciate donation.
8. Many companies object to vendors sending gifts of any kind, but we have never run into an objection with this technique.
How can you adapt this idea for your business?
Dave Balch generated over $5 million from his home-based business. Visit http://www.TheStayAtHomeCEO.com to sign-up, for information on speaking services, or for copies of past articles and newsletters. Comments and/or questions are always welcome at 1-800-366-2347 or Dave@DaveBalch.com.