Franchise Philanthropy January/February 2018

Giving Back: Jani-King

Murray Oxford has witnessed firsthand the compassionate spirit of exuberant Jani-King Canada franchisees. The President of the commercial cleaning franchise business for Canada has an extensive history with the company since first joining its Canadian division in 1986 as the country’s second franchise partner.

In the 32 years since, the franchise system has not only expanded its cleaning empire to 700 franchise units, but has also seen passionate franchisees contribute to charitable causes in their local communities time and time again.

“Personal and corporate giving has happened from day one at Jani-King, between both our master and unit franchisees,” Oxford says. “Whether it be support for The Canadian Cancer Society, Salvation Army or the Ronald McDonald House, the Jani-King family’s community outreach spans across the entire country.”

In 2015, Jani-King Canada joined forces with the Canadian Red Cross, officially making it the organization’s national charity of choice. Oxford says it was the Red Cross’s unique structure, global influence, and long history of assisting displaced Jani-King franchisees that encouraged head office to seek a formal partnership.

“There is a strong personal connection for us,” says Oxford. “Many of our franchisees are new Canadians who have come from countries that have been positively impacted by the work of the International Red Cross.”

Established in 1909, the Canadian Red Cross is just one of 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies that help to make up the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. As the largest humanitarian network in the world, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement operates with the mission to improve the lives of the most vulnerable.

In Canada, Red Cross services are implemented from coast to coast with the help of more than 20,000 volunteers, and programs range from bullying and abuse prevention, emergency responses to natural disasters, migrant and refugee services, and community housing support.

For Jani-King, it was the organization’s commitment and focus on disaster preparedness at home and abroad that caught its attention.

“As we all know, disaster knows no borders,” Oxford says. “It is something we can, in one shape or form, relate to.”

Though Jani-King encourages franchisees and clients to contribute directly to the Red Cross’s disaster programs, Oxford says the company has found the most success through social media initiatives.

In 2015, the company launched an online campaign designed to spread the Canadian Red Cross’s key messages on disaster preparedness. The campaign reached more than one million Canadians in the form of Likes, Comments, Shares, and Retweets.

A year later, Jani-King pledged to increase its contributions to the Red Cross, this time promising to donate $100 for every new Jani-King customer who joined over a one-month period. The initiative was a huge success for both Jani-King and the Red Cross, as the company saw a 59 per cent increase in signed business compared to the same month a year prior.

As the company looks toward the future, Oxford says plans are still focused on raising awareness among Canadians, in addition to getting master and unit franchise partners involved with the charity at a grassroots level.

To do this, several initiatives are already in the works. Jani-King plans to implement a Red Cross Day, whereby partners will provide cleaning services to a Red Cross office in their region, and head office will also encourage franchisees to be trained as Red Cross volunteers.

Since partnering, Jani-King has raised $100,000 for the Red Cross, and Oxford says donations will only increase in the coming years. He hopes that as franchise partners learn more about the wide range of live-saving services the Red Cross provides, they will be motivated to implement them in their local communities.

That being said, Oxford wants Jani-King’s relationship with the Red Cross to be an additional component of the company’s existing charitable giving hot streak. Head office will continue to support and encourage master and unit franchisees to give back to the causes important to them, while expanding their relationship with the Red Cross.

“We don’t expect to displace the personal and corporate giving our franchisees have committed to. We are simply and enthusiastically fostering another opportunity for everyone to learn more about the Red Cross and engage with the organization on either a team or personal level,” says Oxford.

By Kristin Di Tommaso

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