Successful entrepreneurs and businesses give back to the local community and, thus, earn the support and respect of community members and nonprofits. By teaming up and showing you care, your business can amplify its presence in the area and compete with larger entities.
Success is intrinsically tied to how well the community is thriving on economic, social and cultural levels, so small businesses must remain active participants in their community. Give back with the support of your staff and by networking with area businesses. Try these seven outreach methods to boost how your company gives back this holiday season.
Purchase locally as much as possible. Your support keeps money flowing in the area, and by sourcing your supplies locally, you also build relationships with other local businesses.
Another idea is to link to favorite attractions, shops and companies in the area. Network with companies that don’t directly compete with your business, but are in a similar market. You’ll build relationships and widen your network to reach more customers.
Is one of your employees’ children on a sports team? Why not offer to sponsor their team?
Help buy new jerseys, gear, healthy snacks and refreshments. Your company can also support the team by offering funds in exchange for promotion. Sometimes, a direct monetary donation is the best time-saver for all and allows the sports team to prioritize its needs quickly.
What cultural festivals or community arts events does your community promote annually? Do you have any favorites you typically attend? It’s time to give back. Businesses that donate funds and time by sponsoring such events often get their logos displayed on prominent advertisements before the event and banners during the event. You may also get the opportunity to speak or set up a display.
It’s even better when you have the space to host a major event. Dunlap Codding, in Oklahoma City, has hosted more than 150 arts events and programs and contributed $100,000 since 2013 to arts organizations. They offer their space free of charge to cultural events such as film festivals and concerts. Employees also get free tickets as a direct benefit of their company’s generosity.
You’ve worked hard to become an industry leader, and your skills are of value to your community. Why not take on a project for the greater good? Many professionals, from lawyers to construction workers, offer their expertise pro bono annually.
You set the guidelines, such as the number of pro bono cases you take on annually. For example, Lucas Lung, a Lerners LLP class-action lawyer based in Canada, worked on Corporation of the County of Simcoe v. Matthew Co-Operative Housing Inc. In this case, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled a house cooperative couldn’t be sold or dissolved, saving a home for more than 100 low-income individuals. Lung decides what cases are worthwhile to him, and while money comes out of his pocket, he says it’s worth it in the end.
If you’re an entrepreneur, why not teach community workshops on starting a business for those in the community who can’t afford the same resources or opportunities? What expertise do you have to offer?
During the holidays, your less fortunate neighbors rely on additional food donations. Your business can run a food drive and encourage your employees to contribute nonperishable goods to donate to area food banks. Set up stations to collect the items, and then all you need is a half-hour to transport the items to the food bank.
LAI Video takes the war on hunger to a new level, hitting the road with their cross-country No Kid Hungry initiative to share the facts about childhood hunger. The program recruits do-gooders and communities to help children meet their nutritional needs and not go hungry.
Support the community while encouraging a positive and fun work culture by holding a charitable giving contest. Have each employee select an area charity. Instead of offering prizes, give monetary donations to charities picked by popular vote.
Adopt animals as a company, or encourage employees to add a new furry friend to their family. It’s not as outlandish as it sounds.
Ferray Corporation, a Tokyo-based Internet solutions company, adopts rescue cats to help employees unwind, which is especially beneficial in a big, cramped city where most apartments don’t allow pets. The company currently has nine cats and gives a $42 bonus to employees who adopt a cat in need of a loving home.
Volunteering as a company makes the staff feel good about themselves and promotes a positive work culture. Giving back to the community also benefits everyone by contributing to the growth of the local economy and helping those in need while amplifying a small business’ presence, allowing them to compete with larger entities.
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