Franchise Group Creates Registry to Highlight Members’ Charitable Efforts

Thousands of franchise businesses are giving back to their communities, and the International Franchise Association has launched a registry to keep track of it all and let members share the work they’ve done.

The International Franchise Association’s Franchise Education and Research Foundation has created a national registry of its members’ charitable activities. The registry helps members—a mix of national companies and local franchisees in diverse industries—see and learn from what others are doing to give back to the community. IFA wants to encourage all its members to take on some type of volunteer or charitable activity.

The idea grew out of IFA’s annual day of service, which was held at its convention and remains a popular event. (Now, it is so popular that it requires a waiting list for participants.) When people gather together at the convention and roll up their sleeves to give back to the community, “it’s stepping outside of your normal role—you can just be a person helping another person,” said John Reynolds, the foundation’s president.

People started asking why the day of service was limited to one day, Reynolds said, but it’s hard to decide on one charity for all members, many of whom were already engaged in their own activities to give back. IFA soon realized that one size wouldn’t fit all for such a diverse membership.

“There’s such an emotional connection with the cause you’re supporting,” Reynolds said. There’s also proximity—if you volunteer regularly at a nearby food bank, you get to know the people running it. That’s why larger companies might choose an industry-specific cause to support across the board, for example, while smaller franchisees might want to lend a hand to an organization that’s physically closer to home.

So Franchising Gives Back was formed, and it encourages the charitable acts of IFA’s franchisors, franchisees, and suppliers—as well as recognizes their exemplary leadership in this realm. Established by a donation from Roark Capital Group, Franchising Gives Back runs an awards program for IFA’s most innovative community leaders and charitable programs.

The registry is part of Franchising Gives Back, and IFA hopes it will encourage members to try different ways of serving the community. So far, the registry includes more than 230 IFA members and showcases the efforts of nearly 226,000 volunteers who have donated more than $120.5 million and 1.7 million hours to various nonprofits. Their activities range from working with veteran family support centers to supporting Little League baseball games. Each organization that registers can submit details about their volunteer and charitable work, their upcoming events, and news about what they’ve done.

“The economic footprint of franchising is very big, providing millions of jobs and economic output, but the social footprint is equally powerful, touching the lives of our neighbors in thousands of communities,” said Steve Romaniello, managing director of Roark Capital Group, in a statement.

Reynolds agreed. “We don’t often talk about the social footprint,” he said. But, “if you look at the value in terms of goodwill and community support they can generate and the good they can do,” the social impact might be greater than the economic impact.


Allison Torres Burtka

By Allison Torres Burtka

Allison Torres Burtka, a longtime association journalist, is a freelance writer and editor in West Bloomfield, Michigan. MORE

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