Impulse Charity

By Stacey Soble | 12/03/2010 11:37:44 AM



I squeezed in a little holiday shopping one day this week and it didn’t take me long to pick up on a little trend I’ve nicknamed impulse charity. Most likely you know what I’m talking about—it’s that sneaky little add-on during the financial transaction at the cash register.

For example, when I called in a catalog order to Pottery Barn, the operator asked if I’d like to include a $5 contribution to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. At Borders, the attendant pointed to a rack and asked if I wanted to purchase an additional book to donate to a local school. And, at PetSmart, the card swipe machine electronically invited me to add a $1 donation to animal shelters.

I’ll be honest—the times I decided to contribute had just as much to do with my mood as it did my view of the charitable organization. But each time, the invitation to participate brightened my perception of the retailer, even when I didn’t choose to make a donation.

How does this apply to your salon? Partnering with your favorite philanthropic organization not only offers you and your team members a chance to give back to your community, the resulting goodwill can have a beneficial impact on your business, including increased visibility, marketing power and clients. While cut-a-thons, fashion shows and silent auctions can raise big bucks, the organization of these events can be tedious and time-consuming.

If you want to try something a little simpler, take a cue from the big retailers, and consider inviting your clients to make a small donation during checkout. Make it professional by encouraging your staff to talk about the salon’s involvement with the charity during the client visit, include a few brochures from the charity at the checkout area, and instruct front desk staffers to treat those who decline just as graciously as those who donate.

What are your thoughts? Too pushy? Or if you've already given this a whirl, we'd love to hear how it turned out. Please post your comments below.






Stacey Soble Stacey Soble, Editor in Chief of Salon Today

Stacey has been involved in the conversation of salon business for 14 years—as a reporter, a consultant and as the Editor in Chief of SALON TODAY.

Read Stacey Soble's Blogs You can e-mail Stacey at


Comments (0) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left