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Best Ways to Give to Charities? Here’s What Our Brain Squad Says

Innovative practices include asking for charitable donations instead of charging for watch batteries.




Best Ways to Give to Charities? Here’s What Our Brain Squad Says
Brian Stubblefield, Hendersonville Jewelers, Hendersonville, TN
  • We get on average five requests a week. With every request, we thank them for thinking of us as we love to give and support our local charities and communities. We ask for a 90-day written notice. This eliminates about 95 percent of requests as they are usually last minute. Most of the charities that we partner with we have been with for years, but each year we set aside a certain dollar amount for the “add ons.” When our budget runs out, we explain how we budget our donations on an annual basis. It’s amazing how well this goes and the people that truly want to partner will go ahead and start working with you for the next year. At that point, anyone associated with that charity sees your involvement and support and you become not just part of their inner circle but the jeweler for the charity, and they promote you. — Joel Wiland, J. David’s Jewelry, Broken Arrow, OK
  • I have given gift certificates. Everyone appreciates them and it gets new people into the store. I don’t set a limit like “$100 off $500.” That’s a turnoff. Every gift certificate has been toward jewelry that’s much more than the face value of the certificate. It gets the name out and that’s important. I’ve given jewelry to charities, but I never see the customer come into the store. — Dale Robertson, Dale Robertson Jewelry, Loveland, OH
  • I think the most effective way of giving back to the community is by actually showing up. Don’t just give a piece of jewelry away; show up to the event and mingle. — Christopher Sarraf, Nuha Jewelers, Plainview, NY
  • I sit on several boards, chaired several events and have been on numerous nonprofit committees. The thought is, do you give time or treasure? I feel time has reaped the most financial advancement. We have given jewelry for numerous charity auctions, but it does not bring people through the door like the time I donate to many organizations. — Patty Gallun Hansen, Dorothy Gallun Fine Jewelry, Cedarburg, WI
  • We keep track of who asks for what, when and how well it was handled on both ends. If it was a good experience and we and the community benefitted, we continue to work with them yearly. We love these opportunities. It gets to the root of what we are trying to be … the neighborhood jeweler. — Ryan “Jr.” Karp, Cornerstone Jewelry, Palos Park, IL
  • We have found that concentrating on two larger fundraisers in a year seems to be successful for us. We will contribute our time, money, and jewelry toward those larger events. For all the additional asks that we receive, we have a donation request form that can be completed. From there, we hand-select qualifying charities that are doing great things in our community. — Allison Leitzel-Williams, Leitzel’s Jewelry, Myerstown, PA
  • We give gift certificates only. It’s a way to get a new customer into the store. — Brian Stubblefield, Hendersonville Jewelers, Hendersonville, TN
  • I give to schools locally and in the nearby area. I also donate jewelry and gift cards to all local fundraisers. — Diana Smires, Diana Smires Jewelry, Columbus, NJ
  • We ask our best customers to host a party in their favorite charity’s honor at our store. We invite the hostess’s besties and our best customers. We donate 10 percent of our entire weekend profits to the published charity (the party is on Thursday — we allow the sale special to run all weekend).
  • The donation is a direct result of the hostess’s effort and her friends’ response to the party invite. The better the hostess/hostesses, the better the party and donation.
  • We are only four years old, but giving back to our community is something many of our seasoned competitors still don’t do. — Elizabeth Kittell, Pretty In Patina, Omaha, NE
  • If it is not too expensive, I will support it. — Steve Wittels, Aljan Jewelers Ltd., Mahopac, NY
  • We have two drawers that are donated items. We give to most charities that request, and most are requesting an auction item, so we just pull an item from this stock (most are older items that just didn’t move or sell). We have a handful of charities to whom we donate larger items or give a gift card. — Kriss Roethlisberger, Ace of Diamonds, Mount Pleasant, MI
  • We give to almost every 501(c)(3) group that requests. Many years ago, we quit selling watch batteries and asked, instead, for donations. People generally give $5 to $20 and we’re raised over $75,000. This money goes to mostly local charities. Customers really like this! — Richard Frank, Goldstein’s, Mobile, AL
  • We judge the charity by what the people that need the help get out of it. There are a lot of groups that want things, but they are not always working the best for the people they say they want to help. Then you get people that just want help their family, and it is all about them. — Mark Brushert, JR Brushert Jewelers, Wausau, WI

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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It Was Time to Make a Decision. It Was Time to Call Wilkerson.

Except for a few years when he worked as an accountant, Jim Schwartz has always been a jeweler. He grew up in the business and after “counting beans” for a few years, he and his wife, Robin, opened Robin James Jewelers in Cincinnati, Ohio. “We were coming to a stage in our life where we knew we have to make a decision,” says Jim Schwartz. He and Robin wanted to do it right, so they called Wilkerson. The best surprise (besides surpassing sales goals)? “The workers and associations really care about helping us move out own inventory out of the store first. It was very important to us.”

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