The weather is warm, the days are long, and the sun is shining. This is the perfect time to venture out beyond your office, have some fun, and grow your business at the same time. Guess what? Getting more actively involved in your community allows you to do all three. After all … you rely on your community for your livelihood, so it makes sense that investing in it can yield significant returns.
Supporting your local community supports your bottom line in many ways, including:
Building customer loyalty.
Getting involved in your community not only helps you increase brand awareness, it also helps you convey your brand’s values and build credibility and loyalty among your customer base. Customers are increasingly choosing to work with businesses that prioritize social responsibility, so your involvement (or lack thereof) can speak volumes about how much you care. How much does this matter? One McKinsey study showed that a company’s reputation affects its corporate earnings by 30%.*
Creating valuable connections.
By connecting with and supporting other businesses in your community, you broaden your network and gain access to customer bases you might not otherwise reach. This also offers you the chance to position yourself as the neighborhood expert in your field, which gives you a competitive edge. After all, who doesn’t want to work with an expert?
It’s said that “A rising tide floats all boats.” A stronger community improves the quality of life for the people and businesses that reside there. And that means a stronger customer base from which new business opportunities can develop.
Whatever the size of your business, the opportunities to get involved in your community are as varied and numerous as the reasons to do so. Better yet, most of these ideas can be scaled up or scaled down according to your resources.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Support socioeconomic development.
Let’s start with the biggest thing you can do: Give back to the community, whether that means financial contributions, in-kind donations, volunteer hours, or sharing your professional knowledge and expertise. Sponsor a scholarship, contribute to infrastructure improvements like parks and at-risk youth programs, mentor kids at a local school, offer job shadowing opportunities for high school students, or look for ways to educate others about the path to homeownership.
Participate in community service programs.
Neighborhood cleanups aren’t glamorous, but they have the potential to improve property values and show your community base that you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty (literally). If you have a green thumb, help out in a community garden. Handy with a hammer? Check out Habitat for Humanity, or see if your local shelter has a fence that needs fixing or some playground equipment that needs painting.
Sponsor or join charity events.
If just the thought of running a 5K makes your feet hurt, you can always support the event financially or through promotion. You can also follow local nonprofits on social media to find out about drives for in-kind donations like school supplies, backpacks, survival items for individuals experiencing homelessness, and more. By sharing your participation on social media, you not only promote your own brand, you also promote the cause and bring in more potential support.
Sponsor youth sports leagues.
If a sport exists, there’s probably a kids’ team that plays it. Depending on the level of support you give, you may be able to get your logo on team uniforms, but at the very least, you know you’re promoting exercise and teamwork.
Host a block party or festival.
We’ve saved the best for last. You’ve mentored kids, pulled weeds, picked up trash, run for charity, and who knows what else. How about get involved in an event where you can really meet people in your community ... talk with them, share some good food, and forge connections that will take your business to the next level.