How Highland Refined Focus in ​a ​Charitable Giving​ Campaign​

Highland Brewing recently announced the second year of its “Give Back with Gaelic” campaign. Using its flagship brand, the Asheville brewery runs a charitable giving campaign to support hospitality industry workers across the brewery’s entire Southeast distribution footprint.

After helping donate to 12 causes last year, the brewery has brought the effort back and improved its process, explained Leah Wong Ashburn, CEO and Family Owner of Highland.

“One of the lessons from last year was to refine our focus to increase our impact,” she told Brewer. “Last year, we supported 12 non-profits, and this year we have brought that number down to seven.

“With this smaller number of beneficiaries, we can better focus our efforts and give a larger gift to the selected non-profits,” Wong Ashburn said.

READ MORE: Opening Doors for Charity Efforts Help Create Community, Consumers

When Highland started this program last year, she said they asked distribution partners for suggestions on the most effective hospitality-focused non-profits in each market.

“We took those recommendations and then reached out to the organizations for an informational interview,” she explained. “As part of our vetting process, we also looked at things like GuideStar ratings, mission alignment, and marketing activity.”

The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina is one of the seven non-profit beneficiaries of this campaign. With additional matching contributions from the brewery’s distribution partners, the program is expected to raise more than last year’s $25,000 for the following organizations.

“They are big enough organizations, like the relief funds within the North and South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Associations, that we can designate a gift by chapter and ensure that money raised in each area of our distribution footprint benefits local folks in need,” Wong Ashburn said.

The brewery did not require anything from the non-profits to participate or apply to be chosen, but they do provide a marketing tool kit that includes regionally specific posters, press releases, campaign logos, and promotional images for social media.

Most of the non-profits promote the campaign through social media posts, eNewsletter spotlights, and inclusion on the donor pages of their websites.

“We have first-hand experience navigating pandemic-related hospitality challenges in both of our taprooms​,” Wong Ashburn said​ via a release. ​”However, with customers’ purchases from across our footprint and the support from our wholesale partners, we can repeat this giving program.

​”​Highland will continue to do whatever we can to help pay it forward to so many of our own who still need support during this long road to recovery.”

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