A couple weeks ago, Felber PR & Marketing participated in Twinsburg/Nordonia Relay For Life. One of the great privileges of working at a small business is being able to give generously to charitable causes and to the community. While giving back to causes near and dear to you feels good, it also has some business advantages as well. According to a Cone Communications and Echo Research study, 82 percent of U.S. consumers consider corporate social responsibility (CSR) when deciding which products or services to buy and where to shop.
Here are four things to consider when incorporating charitable work and community involvement into your business plan.
- Create Relationships Within Your Community– When deciding where to invest your company’s efforts, take a deep look at your community to see what is important. Does the local animal shelter need donations? What are the major pain points people are talking about at your local chamber of commerce? Is the school district struggling? Our blog on community involvement gives tips on ways to identify areas to donate your time or ways to create a community involvement program. Choosing to volunteer our time to Relay For Life Twinsburg-Nordonia was second nature, as Rob’s twins we both co-chairs of the entire event (at just 16 years old), and we both had many family members affected by cancer. We were happy to take the time to give back to a great cause and volunteer in the community that has been so good to us!
- Get Employee Buy In- Providing employees with the opportunity to give back is important to boost morale and build a stronger and more collaborative team. Instead of having employees meet for drinks after work, it’s better and more fulfilling to give employees volunteering opportunities during work hours or the option to participate in service based activities after work. Involve your employees in brainstorming fundraising ideas and ways to give back! Volunteering also has the added benefit of providing leadership opportunities for employees, which can lead to increase staff performance, fulfillment and overtime, increased productivity and sales.
- Customize Your Volunteer Plan Based on Employee Strengths- If you read our blog Why You Need StrengthsFinder for Employee Engagement, you’ll have identified yours and your employee’s strengths. We recommend when creating a volunteer plan for the business owner to look at employee strengths and select volunteer activities that draw upon those strengths. Really take the time to review your employees’ strengths and the strengths of your business as a whole. Identify how much time your employees are able to volunteer annually, taking into account your operational demands.
I was the Online Chair for Relay For Life, and managed social media and email communications. Rob was the logistics chair and was excellent at on-boarding people in the community to volunteer and getting vendors to volunteer their time. We both used our unique skills during Relay and felt great giving back to a cause near and dear to our hearts, as well as the community in which we do business!
- Tell Your Customers How You’re Giving Back- Once you’ve implemented your volunteering plan, tell current and prospective customers know what you’re doing. Share it on social media and blog about it! Your customers and prospects will appreciate that you’re the company that “pays it forward”. Also, when potential employees are scrolling through your company’s website, social media, and blog, they will be impressed by the fun features on your company giving back, rather than pages filled with typical sales messages about how ‘great’ your think your company is. Giving back to the community is not only a great way to highlight your company’s culture, but also separate your company from your competitors!
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