Six ways your business should be getting involved in your community
Your business is part of a community, whether you're a national enterprise with multiple locations, a small local business, or even if you have no physical office at all. It's increasingly important for you to give back to your community
through responsible policies, new strategies, and actions that reward or otherwise favour the public. Most businesses understand the concept of "giving back" and agree it's a good thing, but they don't understand just how important it is, or how they can get started.
29 Jun 2016 18:14 Why you should get involved
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why contributing to your community is valuable:
How to get involved
- Benevolence. First, take a step back from the practical, logical benefits and think about the karma factor. Doing good things for your community is, well, good. The rewards of giving are intrinsic, and you’ll undoubtedly feel them when you institute your new policies.
- Debt repayment. Whether you realise it or not, your community has helped you succeed in one way or another. Think of your contributions as a form of repaying a debt.
- Reputation benefits. In some ways, giving back to your community serves as an extension of your PR and marketing campaigns. Donating your time and money makes your brand look not only successful, but compassionate.
- Connection opportunities. When you volunteer your time and resources, you’ll meet up with other business owners who are doing the same. There are valuable connection opportunities here.
- Setting an example. Don’t forget that by giving back to your community, you’re setting an example for the businesses around you. Collectively, all your efforts can help your community thrive, both economically and socially.
Now, let’s take a look at some specific ways your business can choose to get involved.
- Raise awareness of your mission and vision. The idea here is to connect your business to outlets that fall directly in line with your mission and/or vision. For example, Park West Gallery supports its mission of increasing the presence and influence of art in the world, and emphasises that mission by sponsoring a series of art education programmes in local communities. This increases the visibility of your brand in your target market, increases the relevance of your brand, and shows that you’ll put your money where your mouth is.
- Have your employees volunteer for a specific cause. This depends on the type of employees you have and the level of commitment they have to your organisation. As a company, you could sponsor a team for charity events, such as a team of walkers for a walk-a-thon. Not only does this help your brand give back to the community as a group, it also fosters a sense of teamwork among your workers.
- Host speaking events and/or opportunities for the public. Instead of relying on external events, your brand can sponsor and host events of its own. For example, you could give a public lecture series on a topic that’s important to your community, such as entrepreneurship or something related to economic development. Other opportunities for the public include networking events, discussion groups, or other functions related specifically to your brand and industry.
- Donate to charities and non-profits. You could also make a direct contribution to a charity or non-profit organisation peripherally related to your brand. Depending on your intentions, you can make this anonymously or make it publically; and if you’re short on cash, you can also make donations in the form of physical contributions. This can also help you get listed as a contributor on these organisations’ websites.
- Pursue environmentally and socially responsible policies. Corporate social responsibility is the blanket term for policies and actions that keep a business’s ethics more or less in line. They can extend to a wide range of different areas, and of course ethics are subjective, but they’re always worth considering for implementation. Launching a recycling program or adopting more “green” practices can instantly make your business seem more community-conscious, and instituting good benefits and perks for your employees can give you a better reputation as an employer in the area.
- Respond to tragedies and disasters. This is tenuous, as too much publicity about your involvement in disaster relief can be seen as exploitative. Still, whenever there’s a tragedy or a disaster, especially in your area, it’s worth considering what you can do to help as a business. Even promoting a charitable organisation on your website and social media feeds can be a form of providing aid.
There aren’t any firm rules on how you need to give back. You don’t have to do it in a certain way, or donate a certain amount of time or money, and you don’t have to get started by a certain time. It’s completely up to you and your brand. Any way you can give back is helpful, and the bigger you grow, the more resources you’ll have to do it.