by Eric Watkins, president at Abstrakt Marketing Group
Running a business is hard. As a business owner, you’re responsible for creating strategies, meeting quotas, managing finances, and countless other stressful and time-consuming obligations. Unsurprisingly, getting involved in the local community often falls to the bottom of the priority list.
But have you ever considered how your business could benefit in the long term from investing in your community? Dedicating your time, energy, and resources can benefit your business more than you might think.
Why Is It Important to Give Back?
No matter the size, every business is a valuable part of the community in which it operates. Your contributions matter and they reveal more about your values than any bench sign or billboard ever could.
Giving your staff opportunities to volunteer and give back communicates to everyone that your company doesn’t just care about increasing profits. This message goes a long way, which is why 47% of U.S. companies already offer some kind of volunteer program for employees. When giving back becomes a priority, you boost staff morale, increase retention, and promote team building outside of the office. Hello, good rapport!
Creating a strong business culture of community participation is also important. Not convinced? It’s free — yes, free! — positive publicity. As a good business owner, you strive to have a positive impact on your customers’ lives. Giving back to the community, whether through monetary donations or volunteering your time, will optimize your public image.
Community investments also lead to fantastic networking opportunities. Volunteering makes you an active part of the community, not just a passive constituent of it. You might even come face-to-face with your customers. This all helps build strong relationships with other businesses and increases engagement with customers. You never know when these connections will help you down the road or lead to client referrals.
Community helps community. When you invest in your local organizations and municipality, your business will reap the rewards.
Where Should You Begin?
Now that you know the benefits of giving back, you might be eager to put a plan into action. Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:
- Create a charity matching program. To encourage your employees to donate to causes they care about, consider matching their charitable contributions up to a certain dollar amount.
- Offer charitable leave time. Give all employees a set amount of leave time to volunteer in their communities. To promote participation, you could enter employees who record their volunteer hours into quarterly drawings.
- Make a company holiday dedicated to giving back. Organize a day where everyone in the company spends working hours at a nonprofit instead of the office. Your staff will feel fulfilled and refreshed coming back to work.
- Donate to a local organization or nonprofit. Financial support can go a long way for local organizations. Find a local cause that aligns with your business’s values or mission.
- Support a local sports team.If you donate to a local sports team, its participants will likely display your logo or business their equipment, field, or court. This promotion builds credibility with local customers.
- Sponsor a local race. Communities love a 5K, and there is probably an annual race in your area in need of a new sponsor. You could donate money directly or encourage your employees to volunteer or participate.
Use these ideas as inspiration for other volunteering opportunities. Ask your staff about the organizations they already know and support. Whether by writing a check or giving time, businesses that volunteer focus on what’s most important: helping their communities. Leaders who recognize this stand to build better businesses, stronger communities, and more meaningful legacies.
Eric Watkins is president at Abstrakt Marketing Group, a business growth company that provides lead generation solutions. He also brings his ten years of sales and marketing experience to co-host The Grow Show Podcast, which makes it easier for entrepreneurs and leaders to grow their businesses. In 2018, he earned Workforce Magazine’s Game Changer award, and in 2022 he was honored as one of St. Louis’s 100 Titans.