Importance of Community Outreach for Small Businesses
Businesses are born out of passion, desire and a lot of hard work. And as every business owner knows, one of the keys to building a successful business is making a profit. Bringing revenue in the door so you and your employees see a return.
So why should a small business invest in community outreach and service? The answer is pretty simple. When community service and business come together everyone benefits — the business, your employees and your community.
The health of a local community impacts the health and well-being of the business community. Community service doesn’t just create goodwill. It also supports your businesses goals and provides a return on investment through supporting a positive brand reputation with consumers and employee retention.
“Financial” Benefits of Community Service
A small business built on a foundation that values people and community is going to be more successful in the long run. Building a culture of community service can help your small business create value beyond what you sell. It can also help build positive brand awareness with current and prospective customers, enhance the skills of your employees and support employee retention.
Building positive brand awareness
Consumers want to purchase from brands whose values align with theirs. In a survey conducted by Morning Consult for Fortune Magazine, nearly two-thirds of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 indicated that they are more likely to buy products or services from companies that contribute to charities or have other types of philanthropic programs. They are also more likely to recommend these businesses to their friends and family.
Supporting local charities can also help create positive brand awareness by getting your business name out in the community — almost like another form of networking. For example, having your company logo on a billboard at the community baseball field can cause people to wonder what your company does and create conversation that can lead to business connections and potential customers down the road.
Support employee retention
Creating a workplace culture of community service will have a positive impact on your employees’ health and happiness, as well as the overall morale of your workplace. Providing flexibility in your employees’ work schedules so they can serve the community shows them that your business cares about more than just making money. It also provides an opportunity for work/life balance.
A True Impact report revealed that job satisfaction increases by 47% for employees who are able to take part in skills-based volunteer programs. Taking a break from the workday can help employees clear their heads and creates the opportunity for employees to get more creative and build their skills in a different way that will help them in the workplace.
Ways Your Business Can Begin to Give Back
There are a number of ways your small business can begin giving back through local charities. One of the most important first steps is involving your employees in the process. Find out what they are passionate about and consider supporting community organizations that align with those passions. This sends a strong signal to your employees that their causes are important to you and the business.
Next, think creatively. Community service doesn’t have to only involve making a monetary donation. Whether it’s donating time, products or services — there are a number of ways your business can begin to incorporate community service into the company culture.
Here are a few community outreach ideas to help you get started.
1. Join a local service organization or nonprofit board
Encourage your employees to volunteer their time and talent by joining local service clubs or nonprofit boards. Many of our employees are involved in these types of service organizations. By sitting on the board of a local nonprofit, our bankers are able to use their financial skills and knowledge to help provide guidance and support to organizations that not only benefit the community but also align with their personal values and commitments.
2. Help a local nonprofit advertise a fundraising event
Most nonprofits have at least one major fundraising event a year that they rely on to help fund their mission. If your business has a retail space, consider partnering with a nonprofit to help them advertise their event within your business. We have found that our bank lobbies and teller windows are great spots within the community for nonprofits to increase awareness of and participation in an upcoming event. If your business doesn’t have a retail space, you can also advertise the event to your employees and encourage participation as a way to build community while also supporting a good cause.
3. Make giving back fun
Giving a monetary donation to local charity should go beyond asking employees for donations and writing a check. It’s also an opportunity to have some fun and build community within your organization. Have an office that loves animals? Pick one month out of the year when employees can pay money to bring their dog to work. Having dogs in the office can help bring a little joy and stress relief to your employees. And all of the money collected can support your local Animal Rescue League (ARL). Want to support your local food pantry at Thanksgiving or Christmas? Have your employees flex their creative muscles by using nonperishable food items to build a holiday themed display. The winning team can receive a prize and all of the food items can be donated to the food pantry. Win! Win!
Small Business Financing for the Next Step
You’ve worked hard to build your business. Now make sure it continues to thrive. Local businesses are vital to the community, which is why helping yours grow is our priority.
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