Most people nowadays lead very active lifestyles and fitting in extra, non-income generating activities can be a stretch. This can, however, help to distinguish a business from its competition, especially in the eyes of the immediate community. The large percentage of consumers who research and consider corporate responsibility when choosing products or services should be an influencing factor on every business, but apart from just the increase in the bottom line, giving back is a great way to increase employee satisfaction as well as personal satisfaction for business owners. Giving back in the community builds a sense of purpose, responsibility and connectedness, which is important to every individual’s well-being as well as that of their community. Making a difference to make the world a better place does bring a certain unique sense of self, which could otherwise be difficult to find. Here are some things to consider when choosing to bring community service into the business plan:
- Choose an important cause in line with the values of the company or ownership, such as animal welfare, education, healthcare or another cause employees can get on board with easily and customers can relate back to the business.
- Use what is at the company’s disposal, including employees and even company time, to better support the cause. This will help build relationships in the community, especially if they are drawn into the business location or can interact with employees directly. Volunteering can visibly demonstrate the commitment a business has to its local community.
- Provide opportunities for employees to grow leadership skills by allowing and encouraging them to participate. Outside of the office environment, some employees may find their other skills useful and may even engage on a more positive level with each other and their superiors. This can help build office morale and employee engagement in the workplace.
- Let customers and potential clients know what the business is doing to give back. The costs of the program or volunteer hours provided are a great start, but also promote the cause internally to show the company’s commitment.
- Provide employees with a way to share feedback on their experiences as well as any other causes or events that might benefit from the company’s support.
Being a socially responsible company, even as a small business, can have long term benefits including new customers, free publicity by the organization and a sense of trust from the community at large. As another benefit, the community will benefit, which can lead to a stronger community and even economy and that is a win-win for everyone.
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