When Society of American Florists member Cameron Pappas was invited to appear on three out of four local news stations and on radio, he welcomed the opportunity — even though it came in the busy week before Mother’s Day. Free publicity is nice to have, especially when it’s of the kind that generates goodwill for your shop. Far more important to Pappas, however, was the chance to raise funds and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association, a cause dear to his heart.
At Norton’s Florist, Events & Gift Baskets in Birmingham, Alabama, Pappas and his dad, Gus Pappas, donated $15 to the association with every sale of a special arrangement called Debby’s Delight. Filled with purple flowers, the signature color for Alzheimer’s awareness, the arrangement was named to honor Cameron’s mom and Gus’s wife. Debby Pappas worked alongside her son and husband as the shop’s quality-control specialist for 14 years. Seven years ago, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s; she is now in a memory-care home.
“The idea actually came about because the Alabama chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association approached me,” said Cameron Pappas.
Norton’s had been one of the top fundraisers in the state during the association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s event. “They made it so easy, because the association wrote and sent out the press release. Plus, I think when a news station receives a release from a nonprofit, they might pay more attention than when it comes from a business.”
The special promotion will continue beyond Mother’s Day at least through June 21, the summer solstice. It’s part of an Alzheimer’s Association fundraising and awareness campaign called The Longest Day — the day with the most sunlight.
“We sold about 50 of the Debby’s Delight arrangements for Mother’s Day,” said Pappas, many going to mothers in assisted-living facilities. “Some customers told us they were ordering it for their dad because their mom had Alzheimer’s, or for their mom because their dad had it.”
Another common way of making a donation as part of a sale is to donate a percentage of profits, usually off a wider range of products. To Pappas, offering a significant dollar amount on a dedicated design seemed like a way to bring a higher profile to the cause and greater satisfaction to customers who make that choice.
The $15 donation is not tacked onto the retail price; it consumes most of the profit on those particular designs, but the cost is worth it to Pappas.
“I do believe there is goodwill created, but at the same time, I don’t know how many people realize that is basically a nonprofit sale,” he said. “More than that, it gives me, not pride but joy to know we’re doing something about this disease, not just sitting back and moping about it.”
Floral Management profiled Norton’s in August 2017. Read that story.
Bruce Wright is a contributing writer for the Society of American Florists.