How to choose a charity

Follow these 4 tips to create a plan for helping others as well as your practice.
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Oct 01, 2008

Follow these tips to create a plan for helping others as well as your practice.

Part of the challenge with community service and charitable giving is the scope of possibility. There are lots of pets and people in need. To use your time and money most effectively, your practice should a plan for who you'll help and how, says Brian Conrad, CVPM, the practice manager at Meadow Hills Veterinary Center in Kennewick, Wash. Start laying the groundwork by following Conrad's four tips below. And remember that to see real results, you must be dedicated to the plan and your causes.

Determine your goals. Ask yourselves whether your efforts will be part of your larger marketing plan or simply a way to help out here and there. Your response determines the types of projects you adopt as well as how you implement them.

Create an agenda. Think about what your practice wants to accomplish in your community. The agenda at Conrad's practice is enhancing the bond between people and their pets. "When evaluating community projects, we ask ourselves whether they enhance this bond," Conrad says. Your agenda may have a different twist, but a focused purpose will help you choose the most beneficial programs.

Set a budget. Write down how much your practice will spend on charities. You could slice the money by month or come up with a yearly total and divvy it out appropriately. However you choose to operate, sticking to a budget is important to protecting your practice profits and meeting your goals.

Consider partnership opportunities. Working with your own clients, community organizations, and other local businesses expands your possibilities. You'll be surprised by what you can accomplish with a little creativity and ingenuity, Conrad says.