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Author Topic: Local Businesses and Club Benefits (swag, discounts, co-sponsored events, etc.)  (Read 6577 times)

Offline a witty man

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Our Albany, NY club is off to a strong start -- founded in May 2012 and we already have more than 20 attendees at the monthly meetings. We have a "free" tier of membership where you can attend meetings and participate in tastings, etc., but cannot get any of the benefits of group buys, club brew sessions, etc. We're trying to entice more members to sign up for a full membership ($35 a year, prorated), and want to really start pushing the benefits of a paid membership, which will allow us to do more cool stuff.

Initially we will be approaching a few homebrew shops in the region to see if we can work out a discount program with their shop. I'm curious as to how other clubs have navigated their relationship with homebrew shops in their region. I know that this can be a beneficial relationship for all parties: we get people stoked to brew and show at our meetings, the discount keeps club members brewing money local, and the local shops benefit from increased sales. Is there a step here that I am missing? If we are collecting $35 for dues, should a portion of that money go to shops as a kickback for the discount?

Another question: We are fortunate enough to have three shops within a 45 mile radius. Should we work with a single shop, or try to work a discount with all three?

Finally, what are some of the other "relationships" that your club has with local businesses? (Do you get a discount at any pubs or bars with your membership? Discounts on co2 fills? Carpool lane privileges when on official club business?)

Although I can brew some pretty good beer, and have been in active in a few clubs over the years, I'm new at this leadership business! Thanks for the replies.
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Offline morticaixavier

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I am not involved with the organization aspect of my club but we do get discounts at several regional businesses.

More Beer! is local to us and we get a discount there, as well as the local bottle shop and the local micro where we have our meetings (that's a little different as we actually get a little kickback on money the club members spend at the brewery).

One thing I have noticed is that several businesses that we have approached were more interested in working something out if we got our 501 c(3) status set up, which we are working on now.

I think you just need to go in and talk to the owner. all the normal stuff applies; be polite, recognize that they would be doing you a favor as much as you are sending business their way, recognize that they are busy folks and try not to bug them too much.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Talk to all three though to judge interest and that should help you decide how many to work something out with. It could take a form other than blanket discounts too - like special buys throughout the year. Or they could always sell discounted gift cards at club events - they might like that since it would expose their shop to new people.

I don't think you need to offer a portion of dues.  But other than helping out the club because they are nice people, definately try to think of how this can benefit them. Maybe you can offer promotional opportunities in the clubs website/blog/newsletters etc? They may ask what's in it for them, so be prepared and have something to offer.
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Offline olllllo

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Here is a list of our benefits:
I'd list them here, but they are far too numerous.

We let the businesses decide if they want to discount or provide a kickback.

I suggest you start with the LHBS since they may already provide an informal discount.
Next I would approach any business that provides an AHA discount and see if they'll provide the same for you.

I try to limit the number of businesses (bear in mind our club covers a 100 sq mile area and 500 members so our list is pretty large) participating and target locally owned independent places.

I'm not sure if we're ready for Phase 2 but we are considering an optional $100 buy in to get on our membership card. The business would get a door sticker and a sign like this:

All discounts would still be listed free of charge.

Card looks like this: