To their surprise (and delight), about 150 mothers in Tuscaloosa, Ala., opened their doors Friday to find a brawny fireman bearing flowers.
The early Mother’s Day gifts were part of “Celebrate Mom,” a fundraiser to help the local hospital, DCH Health System, purchase beds for its neonatal unit.
Those extra special deliveries came from The Tuscaloosa Flower Shoppe, which donated proceeds from the delivery fee, as well as any tips the fire fighters received. The shop collected nearly $3,000, about half of which were straight donations, said owner Sarah Morrison.
Florist 2.0 caught up with her to learn the logistics of pulling off a holiday fundraiser and why she thinks more florists should follow suit:
SM: Actually, a holiday might be the best time to host a fundraiser. You have more traffic than usual, thus you can raise more money. You need extra drivers for the extra volume, so having volunteers help with deliveries saves you money. And there’s just a lot of excitement associated with holidays, which makes people want to go out and buy flowers. For the past five years, we’ve been doing something similar for Valentine’s Day; it’s called “Hearts on Fire” and it benefits Arts ‘n Autism.
KH: How did you get involved with DCH?
SM: They reached out to me and asked if I’d help them. The choice was a no-brainer.
KH: Why is that?
SM: It feels good to give. And it helps set us apart from the 13 or 14 other florists in town. We’ve acquired several new customers over the years who said they picked us because they appreciated our community and charity involvement.
KH: So logistically, what’s it like to organize a fundraiser on a holiday?
SM: Fun! Really, it is. For the most part, it’s business as usual…so a lot of overtime to fill orders. Yes, most of us came into the shop on Friday exhausted and little cranky. Then we saw the firefighters who we so cheerful and excited to be there. Their energy spread and, sure enough, the rest of us were excited too. Holidays can be hectic, but goodwill balances out the stress.
KH: How did you promote it?
SM: DCH promoted it, which allowed us to keep our marketing costs very low. We mostly used social media. We also sent out a press release through the Chamber of Commerce. As a result, we had four TV news crews come by the shop and there was a story in the local newspaper.
KH: Anything you’d like other florists to know?
SM: I really can’t emphasize enough the benefits of community involvement. Customers like to buy from businesses that lend a helping hand. Some surely ordered their Mother’s Day flowers from us because they wanted to participate in the promotion, but all year, we’ll get new customers who picked us because they remembered our name and that we worked with charities. If anyone wants advice about doing something similar in their own community, they can contact me: [email protected]
Check out more ways flowers have been used for charity: