Posted by: juliegriffey | July 5, 2011

Sponsoring a Scholarship: A Savvy PR Move for Your Practice?

Could sponsoring a scholarship be a good PR move for your practice?

I am totally addicted to super sour dots.  Have you tried them?  They are insane – so delicious.  Here’s the problem.  They are also super sticky and in the process of eating one this week I think I dislodged a filling which motivated me to go to my dentist’s web site to look up their phone number so that I could call for an appointment.

My dentist’s practice is multi-generational and has been in the same community for many years.  The elder Dr. Wolken (who is now in his mid 60s) is the second generation of dentists who ran this practice and now two of his sons are dentists, representing the third generation.  To show their appreciation for the community that has supported them for so many years and the public high school that educated all of them, the Wolkens give out an annual $1000 scholarship to a graduating senior at the local high school who demonstrates an interest in a medical field.

When I read about this scholarship I thought, “how generous,” and yet “how strategic, as well.”  Every year when the scholarship is presented at the high school awards assembly everyone in the room is informed that Wolken Dental sponsored the scholarship.   People will be impressed with their generosity and have a favorable opinion of their practice.  This seems like a great way to promote the practice. Do you think the recipient of the scholarship and his/her family will see any other dentist?  So, while the $1000 scholarship seems like a generous gesture, I’m sure that it more than pays for itself.  One new patient would probably bring in more than $1000 over the next year or two.

So how in the world is this optically related?? If a dental practice can sponsor a scholarship, do good for the community, and promote their practice at the same time, couldn’t an optical practice do that as well?  I’m curious if there are optical practices that sponsor scholarships and what type of impact this has had on their practices.

Hopefully I’ll be visiting the Wolkens this week to repair  my filling and I’ll ask them about their scholarship.  But, be warned — stay away from the sour dots!!!

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