One of the most rewarding opportunities for business owners is the ability to leverage their brand as a means to help the charity or organization of their choice. As a cigar retailer, you can use your passion as a cigar aficionado to help others locally and globally. Whether you have a cigar shop, cigar bar/lounge, or sell strictly online, you can inspire your customers to open their hearts and, yes, wallets, to help the charity of your choice while they smoke their favorite cigars and add to your bottom line.

Three legitimate and distinctly different cigar-related charities each offer a unique way to help. Participating in one creates a sense of community and loyalty to your business. Once you review the charities described below, you will be provided with pointers on how to get your customers involved.

Cigars for Warriors is a nonprofit organization that provides premium cigars to soldiers on active duty in combat zones. Sponsors and donors provide the cigars and accessories to Cigars for Warriors, who in turn help to distribute them to the U.S. Military.

Cigar Family Charitable Foundation (CFCF) is a charity that focuses on building new schools and developing literacy programs. The Fuente and Newman families founded it in 2001 as a means to give back to the impoverished but hardworking people in the cigar-producing region, especially families and children. The Fuente and Newman families started the charity while developing their cigar industry in the Bonao region of the Dominican Republic

Southeastern Guide Dogs provides trained guide dogs at no cost to veterans, adults, and children with vision loss, physical impairments, PTSD, and other challenges throughout the United States. They have matched over 3,100 guide dogs and service dogs to those in need and continue to train another 1,000 dogs for future needs.  This charity is backed by online cigar retailer Thompson Cigar Company and premium cigar maker J. C. Newman Cigar Company.

Marketing tips to help successfully launch and sustain interest in your chosen charity:

  1. Get your ducks in a row. Before you announce your “Give Back” to your customers, make sure you have all the information you need to answer the questions your customers may ask.
  2. Identify its importance. Enlist as much assistance as possible from the charity to promote them to your customers. Request brochures, posters, videos, and personal stories of aid recipients. Customers find information that goes above and beyond the charity’s website more appealing.
  3. Tie the charity in with the purchase of your merchandise. Publicize what percentage of a customer’s purchase price goes to the charity. Special discounts can also be an incentive to purchase certain merchandise that needs to be sold more quickly.
  4. Launch a kick-off event. Bring customers in your store or lounge with a special event–or virtual event if you are an online retailer—by donating a percentage of the profits from the event to your charity.
  5. Social Media announcement. In addition to an event, launch the charity on your Facebook or website home page. Create a page dedicated to news about your charity that is regularly updated. Post photos of your event.
  6. Regularly scheduled social events. After your kick-off event, continue to hold social events where supporters can socialize, smoke cigars and exchange updates about their charity, buy merchandise and make donations.

Since promoting your charity gives a boost to promoting your business, you may likely experience an increase in sales, so be prepared and make the purchase process easy. Customers are inclined to buy more when using a credit or debit card, so be sure to utilize a reliable merchant processor.

Online cigar and tobacco sales are considered high-risk by traditional merchant processors. While traditional processors give accounts to brick-and-mortar cigar retailers, their fees may still be high. However, if your processor discovers you are selling on your website, they may shut you down without notice.

While there are many high-risk processors available, only a few specialize in the cigar and tobacco industry’s needs. Premium Tobacco Payment Processing(PTP)  specializes in this high-risk industry for retail and online sales. As a partner of the Premium Cigar Association(PCA), PTP is proud to offer its members the lowest processing rates and fees for the industry that are guaranteed never to increase. Also, there is no contract or cancellation fee. If you are, or plan to become, a PCA member, PTP will cover members’ first-year MasterCard registration fee for card-not-present sales.

PTP is powered by Nuvo Merchant Services, a leading credit card processing company with over 30 years of experience in several business verticals, now bringing their expertise and stability to the cigar and tobacco industry. If you are using e-commerce on your website or searching for an online retail cigar merchant processor, call Premium Tobacco Payment Processing at (321) 972-9838.