Instead of having to hire a production company, charities can commission the services through Get More, says Lentoski.
"Let's say it's going to cost them $100,000 to put on this event," and they expect a sponsor, such as a dealership, to kick in $10,000, says Lentoski, who runs Get More and also is still employed by Warren Henry Auto Group as events merchandising coordinator. "I can do $15,000 to $20,000 in physical work. So they don't need to do as much work, so they can make more money."
About 75 percent of Get More's work is on behalf of charities. The rest is for dealership-related promotions.
Most dealerships don't go so far as to set up their own in-house production company and let an employee run it. But finding a strategy to manage charitable giving is one of the most challenging tasks for those who already have their hands full selling and servicing vehicles. The number of worthy organizations needing help forces dealerships to set priorities for vetting them and for accommodating employees eager to be involved.
This year, Mitch Walters, owner of Friendship Family of Dealerships in Bristol, Tenn., decided to keep track of charity organizations seeking help.
"We started a file Jan. 1 of everybody who comes in the door asking for a donation," says Pamela Ragan, Friendship's human resources manager. "This file is now about 6 inches thick.
"Every time we sell a car, we take a portion of that money and set it aside into that Friendship Foundation Fund," says Ragan. The amount is $20 for each new and used vehicle sold at the group's six dealerships. In December, the dealership will host a Friendship Night of Giving and give away $150,000 from a special fund. Ragan estimates about 50 organizations will receive donations.
Asked how the dealership sets its charitable priorities, Ragan says: "If it has to do with children or animals we're going to help. Now if you're a 35-year-old man and you ask us to support your softball team, we're probably not going to fund them."
Friendship has become a major contributor to mobility in its service area -- in the form of bicycles given to children and families in need. Though she can't document it, Ragan believes she's is one of the largest purchasers of bicycles in the country.
"We usually buy 100 or 200 at a time," she says. "Our intention was to do this at Christmastime, but the response was so overwhelming, it's now a yearlong program."
Since the bicycle donation program started two and a half years ago, Friendship has donated about 1,200 bicycles to children in the areas it serves in eastern Tennessee and neighboring North Carolina. Some of the bicycles were new and some used, and employees have not only donated bikes they had at home, but helped refurbish them.