By Eric Watkins, President of Abstrakt Marketing Group
Running a business is difficult. As a business owner, you are responsible for creating strategies, meeting quotas, managing finances, and countless other stressful and time-consuming obligations. It’s no wonder that getting involved in the local community often falls to the bottom of the list of priorities.
But have you ever wondered how your business can benefit long-term from investing in your community? Donating your time, energy, and resources can benefit your business more than you might think.
Why is giving back important?
Regardless of size, every business is a valuable part of the community in which it operates. Your contributions matter, and they say 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 isn’t just interested in increasing profits. This message goes a long way, which is why 47% of US companies already offer some kind of employee volunteer program. When giving back is a priority, you boost staff morale, increase engagement and foster team building outside of the office. Hello, good relationship.
Building a strong business culture of community participation is also important. Not sure? It’s free, yes, free. – positive publicity. As a good business owner, you strive to make a positive impact on the lives of your customers. Giving back to the community, whether through monetary donations or volunteering your time, will optimize your public image.
Community investment also leads to fantastic networking opportunities. Volunteering makes you an active part of the community, not just a passive component of it. You can even face your customers. All this 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 helping community. When you invest in your local organizations and municipality, your business will reap the benefits.
Where to start?
Now that you know the benefits of giving back, you may want to put the program into action. Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling.
- Create a charitable 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 up a charity vacation. Allow all employees a certain amount of vacation time to volunteer in their communities. To encourage participation, you can enter employees who log their volunteer hours into quarterly drawings.
- Have a company celebration dedicated to giving back. Organize a day where everyone in the company spends work hours at the nonprofit instead of the office. Your staff will feel fulfilled and refreshed when they return to work.
- Donate to a local organization or non-profit. Financial support can go a long way for local organizations. Find a local cause that aligns with your business 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 on their equipment, field or court. This promotion builds trust with local customers.
- Sponsor a local race. Communities love 5Ks, and perhaps there’s an annual race in your area that needs a new sponsor. You can donate money directly or encourage your employees to volunteer or participate.
Use these ideas as inspiration for other volunteer opportunities. Ask your staff about organizations they already know and support. Whether writing a check or donating their time, volunteer-run businesses focus on what matters most: helping their communities. Leaders who recognize this position to build better businesses, stronger communities and more meaningful legacies.
Eric Watkins is the President of Abstrakt Marketing Group, a growing business providing lead generation solutions. He also brings his ten years of sales and marketing experience to co-host The Grow Show Podcast, which makes it easy for entrepreneurs and leaders to grow their businesses. In 2018, he received Workforce Magazine’s Game Changer Award, and in 2022, he was honored as one of the 100 Titans of St. Louis.