This is our fourth year supporting the international philanthropy Soles4Souls (www.soles4souls.org) and it was our biggest year yet.
We raised over 4,000 pairs of shoes (4,212 to be exact) that will be distributed worldwide to help people working to pull themselves out of poverty.
Because our level of involvement has increased significantly over the years (last year we raised 2,000 pairs of shoes), we had a representative from Soles4Souls pay us a visit prior to our end-of-drive event.
It was great learning more about the organization and the types of companies that participate. At first, when hearing the names of the big dogs in the race (e.g. Dick’s, Tire Discounters, Macy’s) and the volume of shoes they collect and the money they donate (in the 10’s of thousands), I felt a sense of…how to best describe it…puniness.
We had poured our hearts into making this drive a success. We got three local area high schools involved – three schools that were very competitive out on the sports field. We created a contest whereby the school that collected the greatest number of shoes won a prize. We had 30 Cincinnati companies collecting shoes and had organized 5 corporate sponsors for the event. We had two local news channels attend the event and a couple of local press from community journals.
So much effort…and “only” 4,000 shoes.
My inferiority complex quickly turned 180° when the rep from Soles4Souls started talking about how much these large companies love the relationship they have with the organization because it is so helpful in driving sales. One local company, Tire Discounters, was thrilled with the fact that 50% of the people that brought shoes in to their stores for a discount on tires, were brand new Tire Discount customers.
What did we get from our involvement with Soles4Souls? Nothing…other than building up some goodwill among companies in the city and members of our community. We don’t see the cash register ring when we run our event. We don’t see new customers line up at our door. We do it because it’s the right thing to do.
For us, it’s all about giving something back to people who have far less than we have.
For us, it’s about making this world a better place.
More companies should try it.
Employees love it.
It feels great.
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