Sailormen’s “Triple Win” Strategy By Erika Alvarez
In an evolving corporate atmosphere where more businesses are becoming aware of the importance of giving back to their communities, Sailormen, Inc., a Popeye’s franchise, has succeeded in encouraging their employees and local community to join them in their philanthropic endeavors. Mark Reineri, Chief Operating Officer of Sailormen, Inc., oversees the company’s charity coupon program and was kind enough to share more information with us about the company’s inspiring efforts.
The Appetite for a Cure campaign launched by Sailormen, Inc. is held every year within their 130 stores to raise money and awareness for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. All proceeds raised during the six-week campaign in February and March are used to fund a memorable summer camp experience for a child diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. When asked about Sailormen’s reason for MDA as their charity of choice, Mark responded that it was all about being local, “The money stayed local. The money we raised in a given market, stayed in the local market and that’s what wanted. It’s important to us that we help those in our own community.” The funds are raised by selling a $30 coupon for a price of $1 to customers visiting the participating Popeye’s stores. For one child to participate in summer camp, it typically costs a family $1,000; but just last year, Sailormen’s efforts raised $823,358 to help send these kids to summer camp without having to worry about the financial burden. Mark attributes the success of their campaign to their “Triple Win” strategy:
Employees’ genuine support of the cause resonates in their work.
Whether it’s providing top quality customer service or becoming involved with the charities outside of work, Sailormen’s store teams are all supporters of Appetite for a Cure. Every week during the duration of the campaign, recognition is given to the stores and the employees who sell the most coupons throughout the week. These newsletters help each of the 130 stores stay informed on the progress of the campaign and how much their store has helped raise.
The efforts of employees to raise money for the cause have gone above and beyond Sailormen’s expectations. In the past, store managers have spent their free time planning car washes and setting up tables in front of major retailers to increase awareness for the campaign. The internal support translates through the gratification team members have in the work they do in store. The camaraderie is mimicked through their employees’ interactions with customers and willingness to work together as a team to support the campaign.
More customers come back after their initial visit.
Aside from the benefit of the coupon value, customers return to the store to use the coupons they purchase, and feel more satisfied knowing they have helped support a good cause. Store managers have even extended the cause beyond the buying and selling of coupons by inviting customers into the store for Mardi Gras themed parties, “[The stores] will have a Mardi Gras party, because generally this is the time Mardi Gras is in, and invite customers for king cakes and that type of thing. They always have a great time.”
Compelling campaigns for charity lead to a more engaged community.
Prior to the launch of the Appetite for a Cure campaign, the Sailormen, Inc. franchise stores witnessed a lower influx of customers between the months of February and March. However, since the establishment of their in-store philanthropy efforts, their business has seen a steady increase in the amount of customers visiting their store during those months, and a surge in employee support of the charity every year.
Aside from Sailormen, Inc.’s continuous support of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, their stores participate in various campaigns throughout the rest of the year, including a four-week campaign in October to help raise money for the Boys & Girls Club. They also run smaller campaigns year-round to assist employees in need, such as those who were affected by a natural disaster.
Following the growing success Sailormen, Inc. has had with their Appetite for a Cure campaign, the question to Mark was: what’s next? “We started out doing [Appetite for a Cure] because it was the right thing to do. We want to look for more awareness at some point [through an online presence]. If we have more awareness, we can raise more money.” Though the campaign is thriving within their own franchise, Mark hopes to see even more franchisees adopt their philanthropy strategy and help other local charities gain the resources it needs to continue making a strong, positive impact within the community.