- Oregon's Kendall Auto Group hosts Drive for Education, which gives away the dealership's entire $250,000 marketing budget to two local school districts.
- Students and parents earn points when they stop by a dealership, take a test-drive, like them on Facebook or buy or service their car at Kendall dealerships.
- The program helps to sell cars and win goodwill in the community.
EUGENE, Oregon — Oregon's Kendall Auto Group is educating area businesses on how to be true to their schools with its Drive for Education program. The dealership gives away its entire $250,000 marketing budget to two local school districts.
To engage students and their car-buying families and teachers, it's made a game out of the giveaway. Schools and individual classrooms compete to rack up points.
They earn 50 points, for instance, if they stop in to say hello at one of Kendall's eight Eugene dealerships selling Ford, Chevrolet/Cadillac, Acura, Honda, Lexus, Scion, Subaru and Toyota vehicles. A test-drive rewards them with 500 points. Daily Facebook votes earn 100 points a day. Service and sales earn 1 point for every dollar spent.
The dealership also hosts special contests each quarter. The most recent one gave $1,000 to 40 individual classrooms to go on field trips.
"We know this is a much better way to use our marketing dollars," Amy Newport, community-relations manager, told Edmunds. "We're a family-owned business and we've been in the community 77 years. Our own children attend these schools and we've seen firsthand all of the budget cuts they've experienced recently and the help means the world to them."
And yes, it sells cars. Newport expects Kendall to roll out Drive for Education to its dealerships in communities outside of Eugene and possibly in Idaho, Montana and Alaska, where Kendall has a presence.
"The children are our best ambassadors," Newport said.
Edmunds says: An Oregon dealership is an angel to local school districts. Expect others to copy this Golden Rule approach.