May
25

Making Headlines with Baseball, Branding and Relationship Building

Gas South is committed to providing Hometown Value, and we are proud to support the Atlanta Braves as our hometown team. As the official natural gas provider for the Braves, our partnership has been a “home run” since 2008.

With the inaugural season at SunTrust Park in full swing, there’s great excitement surrounding the Braves. Recently, President and CEO, Kevin Greiner, discussed baseball, branding and relationship building at the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Business of Sports Summit.

Kevin talked about our successful partnership with the Braves and our “Bring the Heat” campaign. Through this campaign, Gas South donates $25 to a local nonprofit each time a Braves pitcher strikes out an opponent throughout the summer. Each time one of the Braves pitchers “brings the heat,” our community wins.

The designated beneficiary for April and May is the YMCA of Metro Atlanta. The United Way of Greater Atlanta will receive donations for June and July, and The Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta is the recipient for August and September.

In addition to our “Bring the Heat” campaign, Braves fans can get involved in a more interactive way throughout the season. During select games during the season, fans can tweet their seat number using #GasSouthKissCam for a chance to make it on the jumbotron! Always wanted to get on the big screen? Well, here’s your chance!

Last season Bring the Heat raised more than $61,000 for local nonprofits, and we hope the team and pitchers are even more successful this season!

Read more about Gas South, the Braves and our involvement with Live! at the Battery in this Atlanta Business Chronicle article.

Apr
17

Welcome Home, Braves Fans

It’s the beginning of a new era in baseball history, and Gas South is excited to launch our 10th season as the Atlanta Braves’ official natural gas provider. To mark the team’s homecoming, we’re offering several opportunities for you to secure tickets and join us in cheering on the Braves at SunTrust Park.

Score Free Braves Tickets:  As a new Gas South customer, you’re eligible to receive two FREE Terrace Corner tickets to a Braves home game when you enroll online at gas-south.com/braves. Or, simply call 1-855-GAS-SOUTH (427-7688) and mention promo code BRAVES.

Of course, our current customers can also get free tickets. Through our fabulous Pick Your Perk program, Gas South customers are eligible to receive two FREE Grandstand Infield tickets to a Braves home game.  Pick one perk per year — and join us in cheering on our home team. For more information on our Braves perk and perks for other favorite Georgia attractions, visit www.gas-south.com/perks.

Braves Ticket Discounts: Coming soon, Gas South customers may save 20% on tickets to Monday through Thursday games throughout the season. Visit www.gas-south.com/offers for more information and choose from three seating options with this discount.

Braves VIP Experience: Starting April 25th, we’ll have a contest for two lucky winners to receive a Braves VIP Experience package, which includes four home game tickets and one parking pass, a private tour of SunTrust Park, batting practice viewing (from the field!) and a Braves goodie bag. Visit www.gas-south.com/braves to learn more.

Gas South Kiss Cam: Pucker up, Braves fans! While you’re at the game, tweet your selfie and your seat number using #GasSouthKissCam for a chance to capture your loveable moment on the big screen! Chosen lovebirds will receive their keepsake video from the Braves within 48 hours. Be sure to share your video using #GasSouthKissCam!

Pitching Match-Ups: Gas South is excited to bring Braves fans pitching match-ups on digital outdoor boards this season as they travel to SunTrust Park. We’ll announce starting pitchers for home games to fans traveling along I-285 and I-75 all season long.

Bring the Heat: Gas South is proud to Bring the Heat again this year by donating $25 for every strikeout recorded by a Braves pitcher. More strikeouts means more money raised for our charitable partners like the YMCA, the United Way and the Salvation Army. Last year, the Atlanta Braves and Gas South raised $61,350 for charity through the program. Since its inception, Bring the Heat has raised more than $311,000, with funds going to projects aimed at improving the communities where we live, work and play.

Jan
23

7 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Winter is here (for now)! As the temperatures dip, we’re faced with a little less sunshine and a lot more time indoors. But don’t let glee turn to gloom. Check out Gas South’s top tips to stay warm and beat the winter blues.

  1. Try a new recipe. Winter is a great time to test a new recipe, especially if you’re using a natural gas oven, range or grill. Whether you’re an executive chef or an amateur, natural gas appliances offer more precision to help you prepare an impeccable hot dish for chilly days. If you’re looking for a tasty recipe to pair with dinner, try out our customer 101 Steak’s recipe for roasted garlic and mascarpone cheese dip.
  1. Have a staycation. Cozy up with family and friends at home by watching movies, playing games or whatever else you enjoy together. Stay warm and save money with a few easy tricks! At Gas South, we recommend a fixed rate plan to help you save more money over time. Also, consider installing a programmable thermostat, sealing ducts, and checking for drafty doors and windows to keep a little more money in your pocket during the cooler months.
  1. Spend a Sunday at Snow Mountain. Winter doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors. Bundle up and have a snow day at Stone Mountain Park. Enjoy snowman building, snowball fights, roasting marshmallows, making snow angels and more. Pick a Sunday before February 26, and take advantage of exclusive Gas South customer discounts.
  1. Enjoy The Greatest Show On Earth®. Families in Atlanta can see Ringling Bros. one last time before the touring circus closes permanently in May 2017. America’s favorite live family entertainment experience is coming to Philips Arena, February 15 to 20. Enjoy a 20 percent discount on tickets to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Circus XTREME with promo code GASSOUTH. Tickets are going fast!
  1. Cheer on the Atlanta Hawks. Watching the Hawks dominate team after team is an experience that is “true to Atlanta” and fun for the entire family. Gas South is even helping you score discounted tickets just for being a customer. Help root the Hawks to another victory!
  1. Visit the Georgia Aquarium. One of the world’s largest aquariums is right in the heart of Atlanta. Visit the Georgia Aquarium to enjoy exhibits, shows and galleries. Gas South customers can save some cash on ticket prices year-round. That’s Hometown Value – and you won’t find it anywhere else!
  1. Give back. Spread warmth and cheer by giving back and doing good. Local organizations such as the United Way of Greater Atlanta, Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta and Atlanta Community Food Bank are continuously working to provide care and support to thousands of residents in need across Georgia. Lend a helping hand and support a neighbor in need this winter.
Sep
28

Millennials: Attracting Cobb’s Next Generation of Leaders

At a recent Cobb Chamber event, I shared my perspectives as a local business leader on how Cobb County is attracting and cultivating the next generation of leaders. The county has a legacy of leadership, and it’s one we hope to continue through the recent influx of millennials and the overall boom in economic activity.

From 2010 to 2015, the millennial population in the Cumberland area alone has increased by about 32 percent, making this the fastest growing millennial population in metro Atlanta. Cobb County has also been ranked one of the top millennial suburbs based on the number of millennial residents, job opportunities, and access to housing, restaurants and other nearby entertainment venues.

Drawing from these data points and my personal experience, here’s why Cobb County is a great place for millennials to work, live and play.

Work: Business is booming, and opportunities are endless for the millennial workforce. According to the Cobb Chamber’s 2016 Economic Development Guide, the county created and retained nearly 5,225 jobs with an estimated $313 million in new investments in 2015. Comcast, The Home Depot, RaceTrac, The Weather Channel and now the Atlanta Braves all call Cobb home, and so does Gas South. In 2006, we selected Cobb’s Cumberland area for our headquarters, and we continue to grow where we’re planted. In 2014, we extended our lease through 2025 and doubled our office space to accommodate our growth as we insourced our customer care team. Within the walls of our organization, 40 percent of our workforce falls in the millennial cohort.

Live: With a cost of living below the national average, there’s no shortage of affordable housing options in Cobb. With its recreational amenities, rich arts community, top-notch educational institutions and transportation options, the Cobb County lifestyle is luring millennials, including many of our team members. Since 2013, 6,800 new residential units are either under construction or awaiting zoning approval. Many of these new projects involve mixed-use developments, such as The Battery Atlanta and Jamestown’s Riverview Landing, which make it easier than ever for millennial residents to have it all in a close proximity to where they live and work.

Play: For millennials that work hard and play hard, Cobb boasts more than 100 parks, the Cobb Energy Centre and plenty of local spots to meet up with friends. Not to mention, SunTrust Park and The Battery Atlanta, which are arguably the most notable projects in Cobb’s history. The new developments are already attracting quality investment. Improvements are underway to address traffic concerns and increase walkability, in addition to the benefits of increasing the tax base and creating new jobs.  From The Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre and King’s Bowling alley, to chef-driven restaurant concepts by Ford Fry and Linton Hopkins, it’s not news breaking to say that this will be a go-to destination.

Gas South is fortunate to have made Cobb County our home for our first 10 years business, and we are even more bullish as we enter our second decade as a corporate citizen.

Aug
2

1,215 Lunches Packed for Smart Lunch, Smart Kid

During the summer, many children go without a nutritious lunch that’s normally provided at school. Can you imagine? Feeling the excitement of summer, but not knowing if you’re going to eat that day? Or, if you’re a parent, you may have to leave your kids at home to go to work and you don’t know if they will eat that day. It’s something that no child or parent should have to worry about.

On July 20th, employees took a break from their normal routine to pack 1,215 lunches for Atlanta students who receive free or reduced lunch during the school year. The Smart Lunch, Smart Kid program is powered by Action Ministries and it ensures that these children are fed during the summer and school breaks. Unlike other similar programs, the organization delivers the lunches to the children in their neighborhoods which removes the possible issue of lack of access to transportation.

For the past five years, Gas South has packed lunches for this standout program and it’s always a great time!

The lunches were delivered to children who live in apartments in the Cascade Corridor, as well as apartments near Greater Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church. The lunches included a PB&J sandwich, chips, water, fruit snacks and fruit cups.

May
24

Atlanta Community Food Bank Wins $10,000 in the Gas South Charity Cornhole Tournament

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Thirteen metro Atlanta nonprofits participated in our fifth annual Charity Cornhole Challenge at SweetWater 420 Fest on Saturday, April 23 at Centennial Olympic Park. The Atlanta Community Food Bank won in the championship showdown against Georgia Jack Russell Rescue, Adoption & Sanctuary.

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Gas South awarded the $10,000 prize to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, one of the largest hunger relief organizations in the Southeast. Each year, the nonprofit connects more than 750,000 people with over 60 million pounds of food – equating to more than 50 million meals. The $10,000 will provide 40,000 meals to families in metro Atlanta and north Georgia.

In addition to the $10,000 for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Gas South also donated $4,000 to Georgia Jack Russell Rescue for second place and $2,000 to both United Way and The Giving Kitchen for third and fourth place. The money for the donation was raised at our Charity Shindig event that was held at SweetWater Brewery last month, as well as proceeds raised during 420 Fest through T-shirt and hat donations.

Cg04Z16WIAADUKg“The Charity Cornhole Challenge is one of my favorite events because it’s a fun way to rally the community together for a good cause,” said Chris Coan, Gas South vice president and general manager of business and government markets. “Gas South is an environmentally conscious company, and we’re committed to making a local impact. Because of that, we look for opportunities to align our brand with like-minded organizations, which is why we continue to partner with SweetWater year over year.”

Through our annual cornhole sponsorship, Gas South has raised more than $55,000 for local nonprofits.

“We are so grateful to be the recipients of the Cornhole Challenge,” said Kyle Waide, president and CEO of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. “The generous contribution will help us feed our neighbors in need. Each year, we are able to distribute enough food to provide more than 50 million meals for the hungry. We couldn’t do it without strong support from our community, including our partners at Gas South. We are already practicing to defend our title next year!”Cg0sgKtWgAAxeij

Thank you to everyone that helped support the tournament – we had a great turnout! We’re already looking forward to next year’s competition!

Dec
30

Gas South and The Salvation Army team up to make a Difference this Holiday Season

Gas South continues to give back to the communities where we live and work throughout the year, and this holiday season has been no different. This year we have taken part in many initiatives but most recently we have been focusing our efforts on assisting the Salvation Army with their Angel Tree and Kettle Bell programs.

Salvation Army Angel Tree

The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program helps provide Christmas gifts to more than 12,000 children every year. The program also provides support for “Silver Bells” who are senior adults living at or below the federal index poverty level. This year, Gas South hosted an Angel Tree with 50 Angels to be “adopted.” Employees participated by choosing Angels from the tree and picking out gifts for needy families.

Gifts purchased for each Angel are given through The Salvation Army to seniors and parents who can then experience the pride of providing gifts for their children and the treasure of sharing in their excitement. Thank you to all employees who participated to make a difference in someone’s Christmas this year!
DSC_0139-680x1024DSC_0226-1024x789 Salvation Army Kettle Bell Ringing

This year, Gas South employees had the opportunity to ring the red kettle bells for the Salvation Army at Cumberland Mall. Employees were asked to volunteer for two hour shifts during the week of December 14th.

Gas South sponsored the Red Kettles at Cumberland Mall from December 14th to the 19th and all donations to those kettles were matched by Gas South up to $1,250.
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Nov
23

Gobble Jog 2015

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The 13th annual Marietta Daily Journal Gobble Jog is at Marietta Square this week, and Gas South is honored to be a sponsor of the event that benefits MUST Ministries. For many families, attending the Gobble Jog has become a Thanksgiving morning tradition before spending the day eating lots of turkey. What better way to start a day of giving thanks than spending it raising money for MUST Ministries – an organization that served 31,000 men, women and children last year.

In 2003, the Gobble Jog had 1,400 runners who raised $29,000. Now, more than 8,000 runners and walkers participate and yearly proceeds exceed $500,000.

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The Gobble Jog offers a 10K, 5K, 1K and Tot Trot. To view the course map click here: http://www.mustministries.org/file/events/Pages-1-14-from-Gobble-Job_2015-2.pdf

Are you going to be out of town or too busy cooking on Thanksgiving morning? You can still register for the Gobble Jog by signing up as a Phantom Runner and you will receive the race t-shirt. You can also donate to one of your fellow runners using their online fundraising page.

For more information about the event click here: http://www.gobblejog.org/faf/help/helpEventInfo.asp?ievent=1140124&lis=1&kntae1140124=DC918D83BA1E45B5B20B4E845E609723. Online registration closed on November 22nd, but you can register on-site the morning of the event.

MUST Ministries is dedicated to providing services to feed, clothe and assist people in need. The organization offers a range of services including emergency shelter, transitional housing, meals, groceries, clothing, job readiness, job placement and more. MUST has been serving people in need for more than 40 years and has locations in Cobb, Cherokee and numerous additional counties.

If you’re interested in donating to MUST Ministries and their great cause to address the basic needs of individuals, families and children, click here to make a donation: http://www.gobblejog.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?supId=0&ievent=1140124&lis=1&kntae1140124=DC918D83BA1E45B5B20B4E845E609723&team.

Oct
12

K’s Lead to Donations for The Salvation Army

Even though the Braves finished the season with a 67-95 record, fans still saw a lot of fireworks after every strikeout by a Braves pitcher.

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 For the fifth straight year of our Bring the Heat™ campaign, Gas South pledged to donate $25 to The Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta every time an Atlanta Braves pitcher threw a strikeout this season.

From opening day up until the last game on October 4th, the Braves pitchers threw 1,115 strikeouts! That’s $27,875! But we didn’t stop there. To raise additional funds and awareness about Bring the Heat, Gas South ran a Twitter campaign during the Yankees series and asked fans to tweet using #BringTheHeat2015. The campaign raised an additional $5,000, thanks to your tweets, which brings Gas South’s total donation to the Salvation Army to $32,875.

DSC_0052-300x199DSC_0057-284x300DSC_0062-300x199Meredith Hodges, Gas South vice president, presented Major Todd Hawks of the Salvation Army with the check. The donation will support the 125th anniversary of The Salvation Army’s Doing the Most Good in Metro Atlanta.

Since 2010, Gas South has contributed more than $267,000 to Georgia nonprofits through Bring the Heat and we’re looking forward to another successful season next year!

Oct
1

Finding the Suite Spot: Building Relationships with Corporate Partners (Part II)

Finding the Suite Spot: Building Relationships with Corporate Partners (Part II)

Finding the Suite Spot is a three part blog series, written specifically for members of the nonprofit community. Part I focused on researching and defining the right corporate partner for your organization, customizing sponsorship opportunities and building strategic relationships (short or long term). In Part II, I will focus on the importance of building a sponsorship package, and identifying and creating the perfect “volunteer experience”. I’m going to share with you the three steps for building and sustaining successful partner relationships. Now that you feel more comfortable with getting your foot in the door using the techniques outlined in Part 1 and you have their attention, what’s next?

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Sponsorship Packages:

You may be wondering, what does a sponsorship package have to do with building a relationship? A lot depending on the corporation. The mindset of many community relations professions is beginning to shift with respect to the value-add from sponsorship of galas, runs and golf tournaments. Yes, brand awareness is a huge goal; however, what makes your gala stand out from others? Frankly, once a person attends a couple of galas, it becomes arduous to attend these types of events over and over. How do you overcome that? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Consider presenting a package deal.
    – While a gala, golfing event or run alone may not be enough to persuade an organization to donate funds, a combination of opportunities might be the answer. Perhaps a persuasive deal could include a combination of events and employee volunteer opportunities. A package deal ultimately shows that the agency is looking beyond the one-time event and is interested in truly getting the company engaged.
  • Think outside the traditional event box.
    – Some agencies are starting to think outside the box when it comes to fundraising and are raising record amounts of money as a result. Many are doing this by opting for a fun experience rather than a traditional one. Agencies are showing that they are not afraid to go big, be different, and find venues and personalities that will draw a crowd. I understand some smaller agencies may not be able to launch events in the same manner; however, there’s always a way to change things up a bit! For instance:
    Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta has an annual bowling event. It raises money while also offering sponsoring companies a chance to get in on the fun. Gas South uses this annual event as a team builder!
    Literacy Action, an adult literacy agency, hosted “Spellabration”. The event was held in a ballroom and had the appeal of a gala, but guests played games. Our sponsorship package included an opportunity to play a game of Scrabble with many for profit and nonprofit agencies in Atlanta and participate in a spelling bee. It turned out to be a well-attended and fun event that provided social interaction while raising a record amount of money. It was obvious that a lot of thought went into planning the event and it’s one we will sponsor again next year.
    MUST Ministries (Marietta, GA) replaced their traditional annual dressy gala with a large tailgate party held at the College Football Hall of Fame. The event was sold-out and provided attendees with the opportunity to see a brand new venue, take a tour, wear their favorite team jerseys, participate in a sports paraphernalia silent auction and meet retired University of Georgia Coach Vince Dooley. All of this was done while raising money for children and families. MUST even opted to forego the fancy food for true tailgate foods and sides like hot dogs and hamburgers which kept the event fun and casual.

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Volunteer Experience:

In Part I, I touched on “Understanding Engagement Opportunities” and creating a volunteer experience. A growing number of corporations now request that agencies provide volunteer opportunities − a volunteer “experience” or a team building opportunity. When meeting with companies, be prepared to answer the following questions: Are you adequately staffed to host a group? What size group can you host? Is your staff open to this opportunity? These questions need to be considered when planning an event, and you need to be open and honest about what you can or cannot do. Conducting a volunteer event that you’re not prepared to handle can backfire – people typically do not shy away from sharing their experiences with others.

  • Family-Focused Volunteer Experiences – In this era of work-life balance, consider offering a family-focused volunteer experience. Younger families are often looking for volunteer events which will engage the entire family, particularly if the event occurs on a weekend.
  • Skills-Based Events – Companies often have, at their disposal, a plethora of skills and abilities that can aid nonprofits in their day-to-day operations. These “skills-based” opportunities often go untapped and offer even the smallest of players a chance to give back. Invite them to visit your agency, review some of your processes and create a win-win situation for you both parties. These projects have the potential to leave you with new technology, new training or perhaps free support!

Building relationships with corporate partners takes time and effort but if you put in that extra work and creativity, it could ultimately work to your benefit. What are some of the ways you have gone the extra mile or let your creative juices flow? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

The final part of this blog will cover the topic of sustaining the relationship.