Inside: Discover 10 easy ways your pharmacy can get involved in the community to win over patients and earn their business for life.
Would you find it ridiculous if Waffle House didn’t sell waffles?
Or if the American Pharmacists Association had no pharmacists?
How about if community pharmacies weren’t involved in the community…?
When you neglect community involvement, you neglect the heart of your business and what patients expect from it.
Patients of independent community pharmacies give you their business in part because you support your community.
(That’s the power behind that infamous, nation-altering speech: “By the people for the people…”)
If patients get a whiff of a profit-first agenda or a national-chain-like pursuit of growth over caring, your pharmacy will lose their loyalty.
But when your pharmacy gets involved in the community, you win over the hearts of your patients (and therefore their wallets).
And, you find greater fulfillment in your work.
Here are 10 ways independent community pharmacies can get involved in the community.
1. Donate to a cause
Donating to a local cause requires little from your business. But does a lot for it.
Your pharmacy doesn’t have to do the heavy lifting (although you should contribute as well).
Simply promote community causes to your patients to facilitate giving.
Ideas to encourage and support local donations:
- Start a social media campaign promoting a particular charity each month
- Ask patients if they want to “round up” their purchase to donate to a particular cause
- Offer to donate a percentage of sales to a local charity
2. Sponsor local sports teams
Sponsoring sports teams is a two-birds-with-one-stone strategy. It supports the community and advertises your pharmacy.
When your pharmacy sponsors local sports teams, you ease the financial burden of families. Some kids can’t join teams because of the fees or because they can’t afford the gear and equipment.
Kids (and their parents) get excited when they receive new gear, especially if it’s a cool brand. And when the parents know your pharmacy provided it, they’ll see your pharmacy as a true community business.
Ways your pharmacy can sponsor a sports team (and advertise at the same time):
- Provide jerseys with your pharmacy’s logo
- Pay for field and equipment fees in exchange for placing a banner in the building or on the field with your pharmacy’s name
- Upgrade the team’s practice equipment
3. Serve on a community board
What better way to get involved in the community than to makes decisions for the community?
Being a board member enables you to truly make a difference. Your decisions can shape the formation and flourishing of your community.
Community boards exist in all kinds of areas for all kinds of purposes. Find one that you’re passionate about and learn how you can become a board member.
Community boards you can serve on:
- Parks and recreation
- Neighborhood association
4. Host a community event
Events bring the community together.
They facilitate meaningful interactions and fun times for everyone.
And when your pharmacy hosts, patients will associate you with that awesome time they had at that awesome party. Or, that wonderful get-together where they made great connections. Or, that informative event where they learned how to improve their health.
You’ll sear your pharmacy and community together in their minds.
Types of events your pharmacy can host:
- Health workshop
- Back-to-school party with education freebies
- Block party with neighboring businesses
- Holiday events, like a pumpkin carving contest
- Meeting with a legislator
- Trivia night
5. Participate in a community event
Participating in an event requires less investment than hosting. And it still offers community benefits.
Plus, participating alongside patients builds community spirit in a way that hosting can’t.
It builds solidarity.
When you and your pharmacy staff participate in an event, like a 5K fundraiser, you show your patients that you’re one of them. You’re a community member who also happens to run a community pharmacy.
Ways to get your pharmacy’s name out while participating in an event:
- Set up a booth and provide goodies
- Wear clothes with your pharmacy’s branding
- Sponsor the event
Volunteering creates a similar effect as participating in an event.
It puts you in the trenches with other community members.
But it goes a step further. Instead of simply participating with the community, you’re serving the community.
Which is the best way to get involved in the community.
Places where you and your staff could volunteer include:
- Rescue mission
- Food pantry
- After school programs
- Recreation centers
- Hospice care and nursing homes
- Foster care
7. Create a giveaway contest
Contests encourage community involvement with your pharmacy.
Plus, free stuff makes everyone happy.
And, contests can market your pharmacy to community members outside your patient base.
Enter your social media followers into a drawing when they share, like, or review your pharmacy on social media.
Then, publicly announce the prize winner on social media.
Prizes your pharmacy can offer include:
- Free over-the-counter (OTC) product
- BOGO coupon for a front-end item
- Bag of sample products and non-medical goodies
- Item unrelated to pharmacy (especially one that’s culturally relevant), like movie passes
8. Form unusual community partnerships
Partner with other local businesses—even unexpected ones—to reach more patients.
For example, consider the goodwill that would result from your pharmacy partnering with a local florist to send flowers to patients when they’re discharged from the hospital.
Unusual partnerships also further solidify your community image when you link hands with other local business.
Unusual community partnerships your pharmacy can make:
- Hardware supply store
- Mattress store
- Paint store
- Travel agency
9. Create a community calendar board
Devote space to promoting community news and events in your pharmacy’s front end with a community calendar board.
A community calendar board shows that your pharmacy cares about what’s happening in your community.
It’ll also encourage community discussion with staff while patients wait for their medication.
And, it promotes community events and businesses.
Items to include on a community calendar board:
- Community newsletter
- Local events
- Local business promotions
- Businesses cards from community members
10. Sell area school’s fan gear
Offer a selection of items in your pharmacy that feature your area school’s mascot to show your community support.
Selling these items in your pharmacy demonstrates devotion to your community. And it showcases your pharmacy as a supportive fan of area schools.
Consider going one-step further to get involved in the community and donate 10 percent of the profits from those items to an area booster club. The donation could help support the arts, sports, or another extra-circular club.
Fan gear your pharmacy can sell:
Get involved in the community in any of these easy ways and win over patients for life.
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