Investing in your community is a great way to give back to those who have helped support your business. Volunteer groups and nonprofit organizations do so much to help the communities that all of us are a part of, but they can't do it alone.
Many people really enjoy the intangible benefit of giving—a pleasant feeling of connectedness and the satisfaction of at least trying to make the world a better place. However, there also are tangible benefits. It contributes to bettering the community and also can serve as good publicity for your business.
Good for Business
Giving back to the community is an excellent way to promote your business and get the word out about your products or services. Plus, if you give enough, you'll be able to use the charitable deduction on your income tax.
Local newspapers are filled with photos of business people presenting checks to the directors of charitable organizations, which is great publicity. Charities and nonprofit organizations are only too happy to recognize donors by thanking them in published literature, websites, and at supported functions.
Partnering with a charity to sponsor an event is great exposure for your business, plus potential customers like patronizing businesses that reach out to help others.
Supporting charities and attending charitable events also is great for networking. In addition to gaining customers, you may have the opportunity to meet other business people and develop relationships with complementary businesses.
Many businesses use their normal promotional venues to mention their favorite charities by adding statements such as "Proud Supporter of ....." to business taglines on email, websites, and on social media postings on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.
How to Give Back to the Community
Successful members of the community have the resources to help those who are less fortunate and contribute to the common good. When establishing a budget for upcoming fiscal years, it's a good idea to create a specific line item for charitable giving. This might, for example, represent a specific percentage of revenue to be divvied up among multiple organizations.
By planning for the expense, you're much less likely to feel the impact to your bottom line, and even when revenues are lower than expected, you can view the expense as a public relations investment.
There are many ways for your business to support the community that involves more than just writing a check:
Enter a float in an annual parade or help decorate the town at Christmas
Sponsor a youth sports team
Donate the use of a delivery vehicle or other resources for a local function
Offer your business services, when relevant, at a local event
Donate to a food bank
Have coin donation boxes and/or sell tickets for a charity event at your business locations
Donate a portion of your sales to a charity on a particular day or for a specific period of time
Give a charitable or community group a meeting or workspace on your business premises for free
Contribute All Year
Our hearts go out to others during the holiday season, but there are always those who are less fortunate than we are and will appreciate our help all year. Give what you can regularly to the charities that make a difference to your local and national community.
In addition to being more helpful throughout the year, consistent giving also is more likely to keep your business on the tops of people's minds.