How we are giving back to Lawrence by leaving Lawrence Giveback: it adds up!

Engineering Department clerical worker at adding machine, 1915

As of January 1st, DoctorDave Computer Repair is no longer a member of the Lawrence Giveback program. This was a difficult decision for me but ultimately I think it’s best for our customers and the program. I’d like to explain why we left and what we are doing different.

DoctorDave Computer Repair had been a paid member of the Lawrence Giveback program for years and while it wasn’t bringing in customers (and therefore money for the charities), I realized the importance of supporting the program in order to keep it alive. Similar to many “startup” style companies, the program became so successful that it was purchased by the World Company and the Lawrence Journal World. Congrats to the program.

As a company, we continued with the program after the buyout because we believed in the program and the Journal World has increased awareness. However, after examining the finances of it, we weren’t spending money efficiently. Charities are often judged by how much overhead they have and how much money actually goes towards actual charitable operations. In our case we were paying close to $500 in fees a year to be a member of the program but we gave to back to our clients and customers less than $50 in 2012 and felt it simply wasn’t in our best interest, our client’s best interest and most importantly the charities’ best interest for us to continue. That $500 could be better spent giving money directly to the charities. Other businesses pay $89 or more a month for the program in addition to paying for the donations to the charities and the points to the client.

I waited to post this blog until someone actually asked about our program membership, and the fact that it took this long for someone to notice reinforces that our membership in Giveback wasn’t bringing in income for the charities. The program is great and I have the utmost respect for it, but our administrative fees in the program were too out of sync with the donations we were making to continue with the program. $500 a year could do a lot of good in this community if we gave it directly.

What we are doing instead is an experiment. We’ll give you 5% off the labor charges for your next visit and give 5% to the charity of your choice in exchange for one thing from our clients: some exposure on social media. Word of mouth referrals are vital to a small business like ours and one way of doing that is to “check-in” with us via Facebook, Foursquare or Yelp. Here’s how to do it.

First, realize you don’t need to be at our office on 6th Street to do it. Most services will allow you to check in via your mobile phone or website from any location. Our technicians would be happy to help you with this process (takes less than a minute)

Next, go ahead and “tag” the charity of your choice and say “DoctorDave is giving 5% to“ and then name your charity along with saying “computer repair” or the like and mentioning that you got 5% back. Show your technician the check in on your phone or browser and they’ll note your service order with the 5% discount on a future order and we’ll send you a credit voucher via email. For example

“DoctorDave is giving 5% to the Lawrence Humane Society and to me after fixing my computer”

Make sense. It isn’t as elegant as a loyalty card, but it’s our way of thanking our customers for their loyalty and maximizing our donation to the community. We’ll also start giving to auctions and raffles again, so please let us know if we can help your organization with a gift certificate for free service.

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