When the season of giving arrives, it can be challenging to decide which of the countless worthy local charities to support. That's why Deakyne Dental Associates in Smyrna decided to ask for their patients' help deciding where to donate locally this year.

Dr. David Deakyne Jr. and Dr. Michael Nies came up with the idea to start an interactive Facebook campaign, requesting patients cast a vote for their charity of choice to ultimately be entered into a drawing.

“This year, we wanted a new way to give back that would not simply benefit one charity, but would also increase awareness for the countless worthy charities in our community,” said Deakyne. “We recognized that a social media campaign could accomplish this.”

The campaign attracted the attention of patients, members of the community and the local charities themselves. With votes piling in, this friendly competition turned into a local conversation that focused on giving back. Patients, supporters of local charities, and a number of the charities shared and commented on the post in an effort to have their charity included in the drawing and increase their charity’s chances.

Nies said, “Although we are ultimately making a donation to the charity selected in our drawing, our Facebook campaign is, in the process, informing the community about charities that they may not have known existed or supported in years past. This will hopefully have a positive impact on many on a year-round basis. We also felt that placing the power in the hands of our patients to select a charity would show them just how much we value their opinions.”

The dentists said seeking advice was a way to show their appreciation.

“We love our community,” said Deakyne. “You don't exist as a business in one area for over 45 years without community support. Giving to local charities is just one way of saying thanks. This campaign also provided us with the opportunity to stay connected with our patients, which is important to us.”

Nies said they’re “ecstatic” about the response.

“The campaign has attracted more buzz than we could have imagined,” he said. “We’re sure the people recommending these charities have given much of their resources and energy to them already. It makes us proud to work in a community like that.”

Why do they think this campaign connected with people?

“We are fortunate to be part of a close-knit community that enjoys making a positive impact in the lives of others,” said Deakyne. “In Smyrna, you know your neighbors and in Smyrna, you look out for your neighbors. You know the people who need these charities the most. The opportunity to advocate on behalf of a local charity certainly appeals to our patients and the surrounding community.”

Nies said, “By launching this campaign on Facebook, we put the power in the hands of the people to utilize their social network to help spread the word and, in the end, make a difference. This influence is empowering.”

And the winner is…

At the conclusion of the Facebook campaign, First State Animal Center and SPCA was the winning charity in the drawing Dec. 21.

Deakyne and Nies said they are planning to offer the opportunity again next year.