There are many concrete benefits available to your business when you find ways to give back to the community. Of course, there are tax deductions and great photo ops, but the chance to develop a positive and lasting legacy may be the most valuable benefit to your work in the community. One professional from Morgan Stanley asserted that today’s consumers expect companies to provide community service.
One: Identify Causes That Align With Company Goals
Whether you host community barbecues or contribute cash to a specific cause, your community service missions should all have something in common with the goals, the culture, and the brand of the company. For example, a mental health business could participate in health fairs, contribute to fundraisers for local charities, and encourage employees to donate volunteer hours in the neighborhood. When your business shows up at any type of community event, it’s important that the impressions you leave are consistent with your goals.
Two: Verbalize the Reasons for Giving in the Community
Many small business owners mistakenly believe that giving back is something that has to wait until the company “can afford” non-profit-driven activities. However, there are several ways that community service provides a great return for your investment:
- Most consumers switch brands or remain loyal depending on whether businesses support a cause, especially when those causes are local.
- Community events provide opportunities to coordinate with business peers and create strong professional networks.
- Positive community activities are likely to connect your business with community leaders and potential stakeholders.
- Service opportunities strengthen camaraderie and build positive relationships between employees.
- Giving back to the community strengthens the bodies and minds of employees, leading to better productivity.
Three: Pinpoint Who to Serve
Many employers have causes that are near to their hearts, but it may be more effective to have employees choose who to serve. This method of picking a cause increases the chances that employees will be invested in the work. This could mean that more employees are willing to devote more time, energy, and resources to the efforts. Don’t overlook small-scale charities. If you can only afford small donations, you could still have a big impact on local causes.
Four: Create a Realistic Plan
Every business has its own strengths and weaknesses. When the time comes to participate in community good, choose those methods that are best for your circumstances. If you don’t have a lot of cash flow, offer volunteer hours. If the opposite is true and you can’t devote time to service, make a cash or goods donation.
Some ways to consider participating in building the community include entering a float in a parade, sponsoring children’s sports, collection donations for the food bank, and providing workspace for local charities or non-profit groups. Fortunately, there are many simple ways businesses can boost their communities.
Five: Think Outside the Walls of Your Business
Today there are a lot of convenient and fun ways to participate in your community. For example, you might adopt an “angel tree” during the Christmas holidays or sponsor a social media drive for goods with multiple drop-off locations. If your business is based in multiple communities, you could put your energies into a charity that also have widespread opportunities to do good.
Do customers from a specific local area support your business or are you based online, attracting clients from all over the map? Look for ways to connect to causes and communities online as Ehsan Bayat has on YouTube. Keep your business “community” in mind when you choose causes.
Ultimately, finding a way to give back to your community is a positive tool for strengthening and growing your business. Keep company goals in mind as you work with employees to choose a cause or causes. Understand why you want to give back and choose ways to help communities that are good for your company, your employees, and your community.