1Tell us a little about your “Hear for the Holidays” contest.
We promote the contest with inserts in three of our biggest local papers and on social media and each year, we receive anywhere between 44-81 essay submissions from people about how the life of their loved one could be changed with the gift of hearing. We’re not doing it this year, but we’ve done it for the past four years and will probably resume it next year.
2How many winners do you typically choose and how do you decide?
It depends on how many sets of donated aids we receive from manufacturers. Phonak has been a huge supporter. Last year we had five winners which are chosen by a panel consisting of one or two audiologists, our marketing coordinator, and myself.
3Are there any past winners whose stories stand out that you can share?
In 2017, we received a letter from a single mother whose 13-year-old son had been struggling with hearing aids from a national chain since he was 6 years old. He would always be teased by classmates because he was wearing aids but still couldn’t hear. His grades were suffering, and their life was going downhill quickly. He would come home crying because his ears hurt. He didn’t want to go back to school. Being a single mom, Kelly didn’t have much money. Our Hear for the Holidays contest was her last resort to help her son. When we read Kelly’s letter, there was not a dry eye in the office. After we fit her son with top of the line aids, the impact it had on his life was amazing. His grades improved and he began liking school again.
We received this testimonial from his mom:
“My 13 yr old son was chosen as a winner of Bier Hearing’s “Hear for the Holidays” contest. He has had hearing aids since 6 yrs old. We have never been to a place that cared as much in all these years. For once my son didn't leave a place in tears because of pain. To tell you that you are great is an understatement! We can't thank Bieri Hearing enough for the blessing you have given our family.” -Kelly, Bay City
4You also do a holiday toy drive every year. Tell us about that.
This is our sixth year doing Toys for Tots. We wanted to get involved more in the community during the Christmas season not only helping the children and families in our communities but also supporting the Marine Corps Reserve which collects and distributes the toys. We have large boxes in the lobbies of our offices for the collection and we promote it on our digital sign, website, and Facebook pages. We receive hundreds of toys each year and volunteers from the Marine Corps come around and collect the boxes once they’re filled.
5What are some other causes the practice supports?
We helped support the UAW (United Automobile Workers) when they were on strike by providing hot food to the workers walking the picket lines at all the local plants. Our staff has also been involved in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and different cancer walks in the communities we serve. We also support local high school sports fundraisers, D.A.R.E Programs, and local law enforcement programs that educate young people.
6With your staff divided across five different offices, how do these events help bring your staff closer?
Charity events are amazing team builders. They’re fun, they build brand awareness in the community, and they’re feel-good moments for everyone. Our staff is a talented and creative bunch who work, party, walk, run, laugh, and cry together. A year ago, three of us found out we had cancer. While we were going through surgery and treatments, the rest of the staff was busy preparing meals for us so that it was one less thing we had to worry about. We support each other a hundred percent every minute of every day.
7What advice would you give a practice that’s looking to get more involved in charitable causes?
Meet with your staff and select a few causes the owner and employees feel passionate about. Contact those charities or causes then market your efforts in the local paper, on your website, and on every form of social media. Also, have an “activities” board in your lobby or office area for patients to see pictures of your commitment to the community. Make the effort fun for everyone who volunteers. And make sure you value everyone’s ideas—they will get you from good to great!
8Tell us about some of the other community outreach events the practice does and how you coordinate your marketing efforts between all five locations.
We select most of our events at the beginning of the year and schedule them across those counties. We have to be selective knowing we just don’t have the bodies to do everything. We typically do eight Lunch & Learns each year divided among our offices as well as other senior events and seminars. Bieri also does outreach to almost every assisted living complex in the Tri-Cities area.
9What are some of your most successful community events?
Being one of the sponsors of the Commission on Aging Senior Picnic and also for the Saginaw County Medical Society dinners. The Senior Picnic attracts about 2000 seniors and we get between 15-25 appointments. Many are our patients but there are quite a few that are competitor patients. We do tests, clean and checks, and give out free batteries. We are one of two audiology practices invited, our people are outfitted in Bieri logo outfits, and our booth really shines.
10What would you tell practices that aren’t involved in their communities about why it’s so important?
Don’t expect to build your brand without participating in community events. Show me a strong brand and I will show you community involvement—from Walmart and McDonalds to the local mom and pop pharmacy, no exceptions!