As part of the fabric of the community, convenience stores support local organizations and charities. These efforts are recognized with more than two in three Americans (71%) agreeing that convenience stores share their values and do business the right way.
A 2016 NACS member survey found that convenience stores actively support community groups and charities. Nearly two in three companies (64%) support five or more charities in their communities. And 83% of NACS member companies have been involved in charitable giving for more than 10 years.
Here’s some ideas on how you can support the community, along with examples from your peers:
Many retailers support health-related charities through donation campaigns and employee programs. Health charities seek to cure diseases, treat and support the sick and disabled, and seek improvements in medical treatments. At the local level, convenience stores can consider supporting hospital fundraisers and events as well as individual patients who may need financial assistance to receive care at larger regional and national centers.
The American Red Cross and NACS have developed a partnership to advance community giving and disaster relief programs for NACS member companies. NACS is the first retail-focused association to partner with the American Red Cross on such a program.
NACS and the American Red Cross are closely aligned in how they make a meaningful difference in communities. Convenience stores are in every community in the country and they often are the only retailer open in times of episodic events. This agreement, developed with our NACS Foundation, will help advance the existing programs in which convenience stores provide immediate access to donations as well as food, fuel and beverages for volunteers.
Learn how you can get involved with the Red Cross.
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals support 170 local children’s hospitals, which collectively treat more than 10 million children each year for a variety of illnesses and injuries. To provide the best care for kids, children’s hospitals rely on donations and community support. One hundred percent of funds raised through CMN Hospitals stays local, going directly to the area children’s hospital wherever the funds are raised. This allows individuals to support the children and families right in their own community who are being treated at their local CMN Hospital.
For nearly 35 years, convenience store brands have been engaging employees and customers in campaigns to support local children’s hospitals throughout the United States and Canada. Brands like Speedway, McLane Company, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, Corner Store,
Circle K, Stripes—the list goes on—have partnered with Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals and have raised more than $250 million since the founding of CMN Hospitals in 1983.
Read more about these companies and CMNH in the March 2018 NACS Magazine Feature Story, Doing the Right Thing.
Here’s a direct link you can follow to become a fundraising partner with CMN or you can contact Carolyn Schnare, NACS Director of Strategic Initiatives.
Here are some of other organizations that NACS members support:
At the local level, convenience stores can consider supporting hospital fundraisers and events as well as individual patients who may need financial assistance to receive care at larger regional and national centers.
Here’s some examples of convenience retailers that give back to their communities by supporting multiple charitable giving programs:
- Sheetz established a corporate charity called Sheetz for the Kidz, and the company supports the Special Olympics.
- Pilot Flying J supports the American Heart Association (AHA) “Life is Why We Give ™” fundraising campaign in all U.S. stores during the month of February with a multi-pronged customer donation campaign.
- Dash In Food Stores (Wills Group) in Maryland pledged to work to eliminate childhood hunger and ensure safe and healthy homes by working with a number of charities. Read their recent Community Engagement Report.
- In 2006, Spinx adopted a charitable mission: Spinx & Kids: Mind, Body, Spirit.
- The Wawa Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded to encompass all of Wawa’s charitable giving.
- Cumberland Farms supports local hospitals in its Cups for Kids fundraising campaign.
- With each new store opening, QuickChek donates to a local charity organization.
- For over a decade, Stripes Stores has invested more than $15 million in local communities.
- Casey’s General Stores contributed more than $4.5 million in 2016 to community and charitable organizations and events.
- The C.N. Brown Company supports the American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day.
- Western Refining strives to make a positive and ongoing impact on the lives those in the community.
- Since 1991, Speedway has contributed over $78 million to support Children's Miracle Network Hospitals
- In 2010, as a leader in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, Volta Oil developed its Purple Pump Up campaign.
- Jiffy Mart partners with numerous local and national charitable organizations.
Taking care of police officers, first responders and firefighters supports their hard work and efforts to protect the community, and their presence inside your stores can serve as a deterrent for crime. One way you can support these individuals is to offer them free beverages or coffee refills. VERC Enterprises sent fruit baskets to police departments in 25 towns.
Military veterans have a wealth of skills and experience that can make them valuable employees. They also have strong work ethic, take pride in what they do and work well on a team.
Hire Heroes USA helps more than 100 veterans find jobs per week, and provides services to transitioning U.S. military members, veteran or spouse who registers. By becoming an employment partner, convenience retailers can post jobs and search resumes.
The U.S. Army’s Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) Program provides America’s youth with an opportunity to serve their country while they prepare for their future. PaYS partners guarantee soldiers an interview and possible employment after they serve. Speedway, Sheetz and Casey’s support Army PaYS.
7-Eleven holds a Military Friendly® Employer distinction, and supports many local and national veteran’s initiatives, including the JPMorgan Chase Veteran Jobs Mission. 7-Eleven also supports veterans through franchising opportunities, and the company held a nationwide contest to award franchises to veterans.
QuikTrip partners with The Folds of Honor to provide scholarships to military families.
Hunger affects every community in the United States. You can help families and individuals in need by donating food and beverages to local food banks and pantries or providing financial support. Cut back on food waste by ensuring unused inventory is used by those who need it.
Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign seeks to ensure that all children receive the healthy food they need by working within schools and with childcare organizations to create behavioral changes and provide meals. Listen to Convenience Matters Episode #112 Convenience Stores Can Help Solve Childhood Hunger to find out how to get involved or contact Carolyn Schnare at NACS for an immediate connection to Share Our Strength.
Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization who works with food banks across the U.S. to collect food to be distributed by community agencies.
Here are examples of convenience retailers that have successful food donation programs:
- Sendik’s Fresh2GO has donated more than $41,000 and donated over 100,000 pounds of food to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, a local food bank that distributes more than 20 million pounds of food a year to 1,000 pantries, meal programs and other nonprofit agencies in eastern Wisconsin.
- QuickChek has participated in the Check-Out Hunger campaign to help feed hungry families during the holiday season. Year-round, the company supports the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, the Hudson Valley Food Bank, and Long Island Cares.
- Kum & Go works with Feeding America’s Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado to help those in need. Stores in the Colorado Springs market donate approximately 8,500 meals equivalent per month to help those less fortunate. Stores in Des Moines, Iowa are also donating food and fuel to Feeding America’s Food Bank of Iowa.
The intellectually and developmentally disabled (IDD) community includes, but is not limited to, people with Down’s syndrome, Autism, Fragile X, Williams syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and other undiagnosed disabilities. Employers find that candidates bring a range of skills, abilities and qualifications. Organizations such as Best Buddies help with employment and leadership development for people with IDD.
Convenience retailers can continue to foster loyalty from current customers and the future generation. Kids today have significant influence over their parents’ purchasing decisions. For example:
- Little League Baseball and Softball: By sponsoring a local team, your brand will be displayed on jerseys, which will also encourage kids and their parents to frequent your stores.
- U.S. Youth Soccer: Consider sponsoring a team, a league, a tournament or hosting a fundraiser.
- Home Team Marketing: Home Team Marketing works with retailers to build a presence at local high schools with a customizable, turnkey solution that combines charitable giving with brand recognition and loyalty. Build community relationships and employee satisfaction while being recognized for your financial support of the school and students. Create a strong presence at school events in front of your communities and activate its members through special discount offers to them. HTM will also work with you to help “tell your story,” offering a social media toolkit as well as in-store signage options to highlight your community commitment.
- Boys and Girls Clubs of America: Larger chains may consider corporate sponsorship opportunities, while smaller operations can participate in individual fundraising events or establish a donation campaign.
- Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of America: Letting groups set up a table to sell popcorn or cookies will appeal to existing customers and bring new business inside. The beverages you sell go great with popcorn and cookies!
- The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) works with educators and K-12 schools to provide financial support for local school districts. Fundraising examples include car washes and bake sales that could take place at your store.