Nonprofit and Charitable Giving: Cannabis and Community

The legalization of cannabis has created an entirely new industry that is doing more than just generating tax revenue for municipalities. It is greatly benefiting nonprofit organizations and supplying volunteers needed for various events and activities. Many of the founders of cannabis companies began as caregivers and have a strong sense of community. They welcome opportunities to give back. It does seem like things are getting a little crowded in certain cities regarding the number of dispensaries. So how do you set yourself apart from the competitor down the street? A strategic community outreach plan is a solid way to exhibit your dedication to the community.

Giving back

The initial enthusiasm of opening a cannabis business wears off a bit after a few months. One of the best ways to keep up momentum is through community engagement. Since there are many barriers when it comes to marketing and advertising for cannabis. The more involvement you have with neighbors, neighboring businesses, and nonprofits the better. For example, Pharmhouse Wellness in Grand Rapids along with Redemption Cannabis did a turkey giveaway in 2021 that received significant media coverage and drove sales. The companies gave away one hundred turkeys on Thanksgiving Eve. This charitable event showed people that these are companies with a true commitment to the people in the communities they operate in.

Volunteering time and money. Charitable giving for nonprofit organizations.
Volunteering gets noticed.

We’ve seen Muskegon-based companies like New Standard Park Place and MJ Verdant partner with Stand Up for the Cure and Grassy Knoll has an ongoing relationship with The Noah Project. 

Event donations to nonprofits

Most grand opening events have a charitable donation aspect as well. The Wellflower in Ypsilanti donated a portion of proceeds from their grand opening event to We The People Opportunity Farm. This organization supports a workforce of formerly incarcerated individuals. They also have paid internship opportunities and free food distribution. The nonprofit organization a company chooses to partner with for their grand opening usually ends up being a partner in co-promotion moving forward. This shows a true commitment to the cause so it is important to choose a nonprofit you fully believe in.

To go a quantum leap further, Oops Cannabis is helping Ukrainian emergency relief efforts in their own way. This company changed the name of their Russian Diesel cartridge product to Ukrainian Diesel. This product name change drove sales significantly because provisioning centers felt good buying them. Oops is dontating one dollar of every cartridge sold to a relief fund. Now that’s global community outreach!

Nonprofit fund guidelines

There are some challenges cannabis companies encounter when approaching nonprofits for engagement opportunities. Cannabis is still an illegal substance at the federal level so not all nonprofits will gladly receive funds from the industry. Federally funded nonprofit organizations must be choosey about who they accept donations from. A charity may not want to accept donations from a cannabis company because of the stigma that still exists. Accepting these funds could affect how other supporters view them and cause them to lose money instead of gaining it.

Make a plan

There are several things to consider as you choose what your community outreach plan will look like. What do you stand for? What do you have true conviction about? Define your company values and make sure they relate to your charitable donations.

To donate funds is one thing but to walk the walk and volunteer when an organization you care about needs assistance is going above and beyond.  As the saying goes, “Actions speak loud than words.”

As the cannabis industry continues to expand it becomes even more important to create a plan for community outreach so that you can hit the ground running. Make sure your company leadership is in agreement with the plan so execution will go smoothly and set the best first impression with your community as possible. If you are unsure how to begin, Canna Communication is ready to help you consider a strategy and tactics for community giving. We’re here to collaborate with you to ensure you put your best foot forward with community outreach efforts and beyond.