One thing that casinos don’t get enough credit for is their charity and community work. In the hundreds of casinos we have been privileged to work with, there hasn’t been ONE that didn’t have significant support for several charitable endeavors. And interestingly, most tend not to “toot their horn” very much about this philanthropy. In my casino career, I have seen and been involved in hundreds of casino supported charities. Sometimes it involves only writing a check for a client’s Charity Golf Tournament. But in three situations, myself or my company has been “all-in” with a charity and have been responsible for helping them raise, in total, over half a million dollars over the years. I am honored that the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, and now (and for the last two years), the Notah Begay III Foundation, have all allowed us the freedom and support to help raise much needed funds for their critically important work serving their communities. From this experience, plus seeing numerous clients execute their charitable efforts, I’d like to share a few tips on perhaps how you can make your own or your company’s charity (READ: Fundraising) efforts more successful.
Build relationships, not “charity giving transactions”. In the dozen or so years I raised money for MDA, I encountered several young, dynamic local District Directors. They were vastly underpaid, but incredibly successful because they were skilled at BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS with their supporters. They were helpful, encouraging, appreciative and fun. And very soon, they were close friends. I guarantee, those relationships were the chief reason I stayed involved with MDA for so long, when my original goal was to just raise them a few bucks with my own unique fundraiser.
Apply effective marketing principles. Whether you are trying to get a guest to part with a few bucks at a slot machine or a potential donor to fork over some cash for an important charity, the marketing principles are the same. You need to identify your target audience, you need to segment them on their past history (or legitimate future potential), you have to reach them in a way they like to be reached, and you have to make them a benefit-filled offer that speaks to “what’s in it for me?”
Be organized and have a plan. Too often, I have seen various Casino Marketing executives treat their casino charity fundraisers like a toothache – they don’t turn their attention to it until the last minute, when time is critical. Better to embrace it, plan for it, and be promoting it, in some fashion, for the entire year.