Whether you feel that having a successful business creates an obligation to give back to society, simply enjoy giving back to your community, or appreciate being able to get your name out in new ways, having a successful business creates many opportunities to give back. Those opportunities can, and should, be more involved than simply writing a check to the charity of your choice (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Here are some ways to think about giving back to your community and the world around you.
Find Causes That Align With Your Business
There are two main reasons why you should find causes that are in line with your business, and it’s goals and visions. First is that if it’s a cause that in line with what your company does you’ll be in a position to actually make a difference, and prioritize how you dedicate resources to those causes. If you own a restaurant, for example, you’ll be in a better position to help with hunger in the community. If you sell hiking or camping gear, you’ll have a greater understanding of how to direct funds to conservation efforts.
The second reason why you should pick causes that align with your business goals is that it can help with branding and marketing. Being active in charitable causes will put your name out in the community in ways that other avenues may not. Seeing your company’s name on signs and announcements as part of a charitable effort is going to be a more memorable and positive engagement that traditional advertising.
That means that customers who might not check in to traditional advertising will take notice of your company. They may even prioritize visiting you because they know a portion of their purchase will be supporting the causes they care about.
It can also create a unified vision for your employees, increasing their motivation and willingness to engage with your company’s vision.
Host Events In Your Immediate Community
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with making donations to large nationwide or global organizations, those organizations often get funding from numerous sources, many of them small individual donations. That means that donating the funds you have available for charitable causes to a large organization isn’t going to be as immediately impactful as if you used the same money to host events in your community.
From a more pragmatic sense, it allows you to get the full benefit of the exposure and community goodwill that charitable activities can provide for you. People will see your name and have positive associations with your business, which again, will make them more likely to patronize your business in the future.
On the emotional side of things, seeing your donation makes a real difference in the community is going to just plain feel better than the more anonymous methods of charitable giving. You’ll get face-to-face encounters with the people whose lives you’re changing for the better.
Collaborate For Events
The good that you do is only going to be magnified if you partner with other local businesses and non-profits. If you reach out to non-profit organizations that serve your community that serve the causes you’re passionate about, they will leap at the opportunity to get more support for their mission. They will have a better idea of where and how to direct the resources you have earmarked for charitable causes to maximum effect.
Collaborating with local businesses shows that you’re able to put aside differences and competition to serve the community. It’s a good thing in its own right, but will also create favorable impressions of your company among the community.
Form Long-Term Partnerships
One of the most effective ways to structure your charitable activities is going to find non-profit organizations that you can support and partner with long term. This will give you better insights into the needs of the community or communities you’re trying to help and will help the charity or other non-profit make more concrete plans into the future.
It will also allow you to include your partnership with them in official announcements, and display it in your physical location(s). This benefits you, by demonstrating to your prospective and existing customers, employees, and partnerships that you are giving back to the community, and they can feel good about their involvement with you. It also benefits the NGO, by getting their name and mission in front of a larger number of people.
Hire Who You Can
Many of the organizations that serve your immediate community are going to be dedicated to helping the hungry and homeless. These are people who, in most cases, would also be helped by secure, long-term employment. Something that you, as a business owner, have the ability to provide.
Consult with the leadership of those organizations to help select candidates that would be a suitable addition to your business. You’ll be giving people who need it more than just a handout and fostering an even greater sense of community investment.
Get Your Employees Involved
Your employees will often be excited about the opportunity to help the community, especially if that help is directed through an organization that helped them through a tough time. Consider initiatives that will allow or even incentivize them to participate in your charitable efforts. Things like matching donations, offering PTO for time spent volunteering, or even paying hours spent working at collaborative events can make it easier for them to decide to give back.
As a successful entrepreneur, you have the wealth and influence to make a major difference in the world around you, and specifically in your community. Regardless of how you choose to leverage that, you have the opportunity to do a lot of good in the world. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be pragmatic about the ways in which you give.
You should research carefully, engage with local organizations, and be sure to celebrate the charitable causes you support. Your customers, employees, and your business will all see the benefits.