After receiving numerous requests for donations from charities and Little League baseball teams, Atlanta-based Aaron's Rental Purchase decided it wanted to make an impact in local communities. As a result, the franchise created Aaron's Community Outreach Program (ACORP).
"We could have picked one or two national charities, but it would have been a corporate thing rather than people giving back to [the places] where they work and live," says Mike Hickey, vice president of management and development for Aaron's. "This felt like the right thing to do."
ACORP provides Aaron's franchisees (or store managers at corporate locations) with monthly funds they can donate to charities and worthwhile causes in their communities. The stores receive $500 from the corporate office if they meet performance requirements each month. They're sent ACORP shirts and hats and must elect team captains and set up committees to compile a list of community causes and charities. Each month, a vote is taken to determine which group receives the funds that month. All stores are welcome to take part in ACORP, but participation isn't mandatory for franchisees.
During the first quarter of this year, ACORP donated $37,500 to community groups such as Little League teams, churches and families on welfare. With 325 Aaron's Rental Purchase stores nationwide, total annual giving could reach more than $1.9 million. Hickey would like to see half the stores receive $500 each month and expects donations to top $75,000 per month by year-end.