5 questions with Slug-A-Bug’s John Gagnon

By |  February 27, 2018

Editor’s Note: Gagnon is the administrative and logistics coordinator for Melbourne, Fla.-based Slug-A-Bug, a company whose acts of charity reach far and wide, from Hurricane Irma cleanup and outreach to fundraising for the Brevard Zoo. The 20-year industry veteran has been with Slug-A-Bug for 14 years, as a technician and sales and marketing manager before his current post. He also is an instructor in the company’s “Pathways to Leadership” program, which gives employees the opportunity to explore the management side of the industry.

John Gagnon

1. Slug-A-Bug is extremely active all year round in community-minded events. How do you choose which organizations to help month to month?

Most come from recommendations by our customers and employees. Events are assessed to make sure they fit with Slug-A-Bug’s core values. They also are evaluated to ensure maximum impact — not only for our customers and employees, but for the community in general.

2. Hosting and participating in events is a lot of work. How does Slug-A-Bug strike a balance?

We have a core events team of three. One person gathers all the information and communication elements of the event, giving the next person the details and scope for giveaways, literature and staffing. Finally, the third person markets the event to the employees to acquire volunteers. This individual also coordinates the tables, chairs and any other equipment required to make the event a success.

It’s worth noting that most of our events occur after-hours. Slug-A-Bug is a family-focused organization. Employees, as well as their spouses and children, get the opportunity to experience the fundamental lessons of giving. When you have events in which the whole family can participate, it makes it easier for your employees to volunteer.

3. Is there concern that employees might feel pressured to participate?

Slug-A-Bug promotes community involvement right from the beginning, when an applicant applies for employment. Employees understand, prior to being hired, that serving and participating in the community is part of our company culture.

We give each employee free reign to help develop event participation and take charge of the process. Slug-A-Bug is only a vessel to promote such a cause. This inclusive process, along with our “Marketing to the Employee” program that uses emails, calendars, and an entire wall of the office dedicated to the calendar year’s sponsored events, gives employees plenty of time to sign up for the specific projects in which they would like to participate.

We keep it simple: They can volunteer for only an hour or two, or the entire duration if they desire, but the choice is theirs. Our process has been very successful.

4. What is your advice to other firms looking to start up their community awareness profile?

Getting involved with your community will strengthen your current customer base by allowing customers to see you’re supporting the same things that are important to them. When you participate in an event or support a charity, leads and profits will follow. Not only will you strengthen the loyalty of your customer base, you will strengthen your employees’ commitment as well, giving them the opportunity to experience the heart of your company.

5. What is your advice for firms that want to go further with their existing community activities?

When you start getting involved with community events, it doesn’t take long before your phone starts to get inundated with charities and organizations looking for support. That’s why you must seek input from your customers and employees first, then understand that you cannot actively support every charity that knocks on your door.

Finally, you do not always have to give money or have a booth to be part of a community event. Some events only need employees to volunteer with set-up or help with parking. Think outside the box, and you will be surprised at what participation in community events can do to strengthen and reinforce the loyalty of your customers and employees.

You can reach Editor Heather Gooch at hgooch@northcoastmedia.net or 330-321-9754.

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