Whether it is by adopting a highway, holding a fundraiser or encouraging employees to volunteer, community involvement is a boon to any business. Corporate responsibility is an increasingly important part of running a business, as more than 80 percent of young Americans prefer to work in companies that give back to the community. Additionally, an equally high number of consumers value corporate responsibility when making purchasing decisions.
Giving back to the community increases brand awareness and networking options, and studies have shown that it increases team morale and invigorates company culture. However, those facts ignore some of the most obvious benefits of community involvement. When your business gets involved in philanthropies or engages your neighborhood, your company gets an invaluable chance to do the right thing and make differences.
1. Create Deeper Ties With Your Community
Networking and brand awareness are essential to every business, big or small. Getting more involved creates more meaningful ties with the other businesses in your community, as well as the people who live in your neighborhood. Your involvement gives you the ability to distinguish yourself among them and earn respect.
Involvement also creates networking opportunities that can lead to new talent, deals or partnerships. Even if new networks only open the route to new ideas and a fresh approach to business, it can be well worth it.
2. Raise Employee Morale
Studies have shown that employees feel better about their company and their work when they believe they work for a business with ethics. Even more, community involvement builds loyalty among employees and may lead to greater retention of great talent.
Better employee morale builds a more positive work environment, and it is a crucial factor to millennial and generation Z employees. Further, a shared sense of meaning brings employees closer together than business as usual.
3. Distinguish Your Business From Your Competitors
Believe it or not, when an important contract is up for bids, your community involvement can be the tie-breaker that distinguishes you from competitors. Clients prefer to deal with people that they trust, and a charity partnership makes potential customers feel right about choosing your business.
This is true even outside of your own community, where corporate ethics is a deciding factor for potential customers. New communities are more likely to support your expansion when they have evidence of ways you have been involved in your former community, and clients are willing to spend more for your services if they believe that a portion of the fee is supporting a worthy cause.
4. Provide Team-Building
A team that volunteers together is more likely to be more engaged in the company and outside of it. When employees work together outside of their typical job roles, they build relationships in ways that they would not feel motivated to do at work. Not only do they have an increased sense of satisfaction, they create more meaningful relationships with one another.
Stepping outside of the roles of their day job also gives employees a chance to show leadership skills and deepen communication. Volunteer work is an excellent training ground for professional skills, such as presenting, management and coordinating events.
5. It Is the Right Thing to Do
One of the most important reasons to get involved in the community is because you are needed. There are countless ways for your business to be involved:
- In the world right now, there are more than 150 million orphans.
- In the United States, more than 40 million people live in poverty, and many of them are women and children.
- One and a half acres of rainforest are cut down every second.
Or, you might look for a cause closer to home. No matter what issues are important to you, the world needs your contribution. The true benefit of giving back in your community is that you may have the chance to pay for a hungry child’s lunch, and your business can make a life-altering difference for someone you may never meet.
How Your Business Can Get Involved
Your company does not have to be a Fortune 500 or make multimillion-dollar donations in order to make an impact. To be involved, small and large businesses alike can:
- Sponsor a charity. Allow employees to nominate local charities that are deserving of sponsorship. Partner with one for a year or create a lasting relationship for years on end.
- Serve on a community board. Philanthropy is not the only way for your company to make a difference. Consider sitting on a community board to advocate for local issues.
- Hold fundraisers. Put on an event, even one as simple as a neighborhood BBQ, and donate the money to a local organization.
- Volunteer for local organizations. If your company chooses to sponsor a charity, mobilize your employees to volunteer.
- Adopt a highway. As an organization, adopt a highway. Let employees volunteer once a month to pick up trash.
- Host a school field trip. Your office doesn’t have to be a theme park for local children to enjoy a trip, and you can offer local students a look at potential careers for when they grow up.
- Give to kickstarters. Each month, you can give employees a vote on which kickstarter to support. Or, you can give employees a stipend that they can donate to a crowdfunding campaign of their choice.
- Give employees paid volunteer hours. Employees are especially enthusiastic about charity involvement when they are allowed to get personally involved. Support your employees by giving them time off work to volunteer for local organizations.
- Donate service to a nonprofit. If you are not interested in financial donations, consider donating your service. Nonprofits often need professional services in accounting, plumbing, design and more. Think of ways you can lend your expertise to their mission.