A Case For Giving Back


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For even Average Joes and Janes, the end of the year is plain busy. Add in being an FFL dealer, it’s akin to competing in a high-octane Formula 1 race through Christmas. Upcoming “pit stops” include: Black Friday, year-end analyses, 2024 planning and more — all with the end goal of maximizing profits.

Amidst the busyness of this season, there’s a strong case to be made to shift gears and add in a focus on generosity during this season.

Giving Back To The Community

There are two facets of “giving back” we’ll explore here — giving back to the community, as well as employees.

There are numerous ways to give back to the community. A fundraiser to benefit a local charity or those in need is an excellent starting point.

Jacquelyn Clark, co-owner of Bristlecone Shooting, Training & Retail Center in Lakewood, Colo., previously shared in SI her team has been actively involved in fundraising events for local non-profits — as well as for those who were victims of a destructive wildfire in a neighboring locale.

“People want to do business with and be loyal to organizations they ‘like’ and feel are good community citizens,” she contended.

At Generational Guns in Bondurant, Iowa, Co-Owner Heather Carpenter stated how giving back to the community also boosts branding.

“Being active in our community shows we care, it gets our name out there and keeps reminding people we’re here,” she noted. 

Carpenter added her team looks at causes that will further the reach of the shooting sports in Generational Guns’ area.

“The things we look at are is it industry-related? Is it local? Is it something that has meaning to us — like a good cause? If it’s any of those, then we look at if it is in the budget and/or if we can donate the time to it,” she said.

The holiday season also serves as a poignant reminder for those facing food insecurity (estimated to be more than 34 million, according to the USDA). With hunting season in full swing, consider letting hunters know they can donate excess meat to those in need through meat processers who have partnered with local and national food banks. According to Farmers & Hunters Feeding The Hungry, one deer can provide 160 meals for a family in need.

Other ways to give back to the community would be setting up a donation box for an organization like Toys For Tots, promoting a “round-up” program at the point of sale or volunteering at a local event. 

While you may be hesitant to “toot your own horn” in charitable endeavors, Clark advises: don’t.

“If you’re using social media and email to market these events on the front end, then communicate how successful they were and how much was raised on the back end,” she said. “It can go a long way toward building brand loyalty and, in turn, customer/member retention.”

“It can go a long way toward building brand loyalty and, in turn, customer/member retention.”

Jacquelyn Clark, Co-Owner
Bristlecone Shooting, Training & Retail Center

Giving Back To Employees

Take some time to focus on your team during this festive period — doing so will foster  “engaged employees,” those who love what they do and strive to make their organization better every day. According to Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” report (2017), companies with highly engaged employees are 21% more profitable and outperform the competition by 147%. This says something: if you take care of your employees, they’ll take care of your customers.

During a stressful time of year, things like team parties — from basic pizza lunches up to an expansive event — will boost morale and team bonding. While you likely can’t afford to give extensive time off in this season, a sales incentive with a cash reward or extra vacation hours would further fuel employee engagement. 

Earlier this year, I spoke with a dealer who shared during the peak COVID buying spree he gave his employees double-pay since sales were so brisk. When things slowed down, considerably, at his store, no one from the sales team left. 

Bottom Line

By doing the above, your store will be seen as an organization that cares about the local community and people will view you in a positive light. Whether it’s current or prospective customers, team members or other businesses, they’ll value your efforts to help others — which can help further separate your team from the other stores you’re competing against.


Dealers, what are you doing to give back to your community or employees? How do they respond? Let us know: editor@shootingindustry.com.

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