Businesses are essential to the community, even if they’re online. Dr. Jeff Comer, a 20-year CEO with a Doctorate in Psychology, understands the intersection of both economics and the community. By giving back to the community, a business can help others as well as itself.
What Exactly Is a Community?
Jeff Comer has helped turnaround many organizations through strategic planning and growth. One of the ways that growth can be accelerated is by investing in the community, which he has always included in part of his strategic planning efforts.
A community can be a physical place that is anywhere that people gather. A large community can include an entire city or region. A smaller community can mean a single neighborhood. A community can also be one sharing a common characteristic, such as a group of people embodying similar traits, activities, or beliefs. Regardless of what type of community a business chooses to support, benefits to the business and community can be substantial.
Jeff Comer has served on many non-profit boards that focus on fundraising. Donating money is one successful way to give back to a community. By serving communities, the ability to increase business referrals by attracting positive attention to the good a company is providing can be quite beneficial.
3 Key Reasons to Give Back
Giving back makes everyone feel positively rewarded. Businesses get a chance to participate in their selected community by providing necessary goods, services, skills, or finances. In addition to benefiting society, giving back can also help businesses of any size to grow.
Businesses that give back to their community can promote their own services through awareness, loyalty, and even discounts. Those who patronize these businesses enjoy the added bonus of supporting their own community. By raising money or providing a customer discount, purchasing becomes a form of donating. Businesses that are able to give enough can also use the charity deduction option for income tax purposes.
When a business is linked to a good cause, the link often subconsciously drives clients and customers to the business itself. Donating or fundraising for specific causes is something businesses can advertise on flyers or online, which furthers brand recognition and customer loyalty.
Investing in community groups can have a deep impact. Many community groups provide print media or online forums for sponsors to provide their information; thereby, reaching greater numbers of potential customers. Also, by strengthening a community the economic situation is heightened for everyone.
The Best Way to Give
Depending on the business, methods of giving can vary extensively. Local businesses can benefit from donating to surrounding community events where banners and news sources can provide coverage. Bigger businesses may sponsor larger events that support a city, a larger geographical area, or even the whole nation.
If donating money to a cause is not fiscally feasible there are plenty of other ways to give back to the community that don’t necessarily involve contributing cash.
Volunteering for a cause takes time, but it does not require a cash outlay. Volunteer opportunities can take many forms and are only limited by imagination and creativity. Additionally, by wearing business-branded clothing or participating as a group of employees, this reflects the values of a company, providing positive brand image and increased connection with potential customers. It almost must be considered, that like all community support options, volunteering can engage the local media to provide free coverage.
Donate Business Expertise
Bringing the business development and leadership skills of an organization to a community group can provide numerous benefits. Expertise in strategy, finance, development, human resources, and legal are all areas that many smaller groups do not have the funds to retain on their own. By providing this expertise an organization can support various community groups, which provides benefits for all.
Be Creative — Sponsor an Auction or Raffle
Finding creative ways to support a community can be as simply as hosting a charity raffle or auction. Auctions are a low-risk method that offer a fun event for the targeted community and its members. By holding an auction, many community members will become familiarized with the business and its brand. These types of events can support any level of community. For example, an auction can support a local cause or be made more specific to support local families.
When to Give Back to a Community
For small or new businesses, providing support to a community may be difficult from a financial standpoint; however, as previously mentioned, there are many ways to provide benefits that do not cost any money. By incorporating community commitment in the business planning process, a strategic approach to engaging the target community can result, leading to a coordinated effort to provide benefits to all.
Sometimes time and resources may be insufficient to volunteer for local events. In this case, there are ways to give back that can take place internally. For example, switching from paper-based marketing to digital, collecting plastic bottles, and eliminating the use of Styrofoam cups can help the environment, which provides tremendous overall benefits.
Participation in the community impacts everyone, regardless of whether the community is physical or characteristic. Marketing can be extremely expensive especially for smaller businesses. Including community support in the strategic plan is one approach to maximize a budget while contributing to those in the specified community who are in need of assistance. This provides a winning relationship for everyone.