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It takes heart to give back

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The cost of doing business seems to rise every year, thanks to continually increasing prices for goods, services, the cost of regulations, as well as personnel expenditures.

But how many tire dealerships and automotive services shops factor into their ledger books the cost of charitable giving?

Statistics on American philanthropy compiled annually by the American Association of Fund-raising Counsel (AAFC) showed that in 2011 Americans gave more than $298.4 billion to their favorite causes despite economic conditions. Total giving was up 4 percent from $286.9 billion in 2010. This slight increase is reflective of recovering economic confidence, the AAFC noted.

The greatest portion of charitable giving—$217.8 billion—was given by individuals or household donors; gifts from individuals represented 73 percent of all contributed dollars, similar to figures for 2010.

Meanwhile, corporate giving—which accounted for 5 percent of all charitable giving and, the AAFC said, is tied to corporate profits—held steady in 2011 versus 2010, totaling $14.6 billion.

Countless times Tire Business hears from dealers that, aside from doing good work, spreading that ethic via “word-of-mouth” advertising and taking care of customers, there is no better way to promote their businesses than by being involved in local community activities. That includes giving something back to the areas where their customers live.

That's all fine and good, but a cynic might typify that behavior as simply a thinly veiled, callous way to “show you care.”

While that can be true, the real way to show you care is by having your heart in the right place rather than factored into the business' bottom line. We provide as a prime example Dan Nothdurft, winner of this year's “Tire Dealer Humanitarian” award from Tire Business.

The founder of Tires Tires Tires in Sioux Falls, S.D., said as of mid-September the firm had $83,947 worth of parts and labor invested in one of its pet charitable projects, “Angel Cars,” in which road-worthy cars are repaired then donated to those in need of transportation.

What a great way to make a difference and touch the lives of those in need. Whether or not Tires Tires Tires' generosity produces even one customer doesn't really matter, does it? Its actions go a long way toward showing that its corporate heart—not to mention the concern of all the employees involved in the project—is in the right place. And that can pay untold dividends.
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