Having too narrow a view of what constitutes a commitment to the community can prevent your business from getting involved in corporate philanthropy. Yet it’s possible to contribute to nonprofits not only through monetary donations, but with the gift of your time and/or your talents.
A firm may not have the extra revenue to write a check in support of a cause or local charity, but entrepreneurs can help organizations by utilizing their financial, marketing, relationship or strategic expertise. Companies with larger teams could get employee feedback on what causes are important to each of them, and dedicate one day per month to a different initiative. Especially in startups, time is a finite (and often scarce) resource, so even running a food or clothing donation drive in the office can be a way for you, your team and even your clients to do a little good. Engaging employees and clients in community engagement efforts fosters trust and good will amongst those involved.
When engaging the community and giving back, it’s all about determining what assets you have to contribute – be it money, time or skills. Find volunteering or philanthropy opportunities that align with your passions and interests, and be creative about how you can benefit others. Like to run? Sign up and raise money for a charity race. Care about childhood education? Tutor math for a few hours a week at a local learning center. When we look beyond the financial aspect of community involvement, the number of small ways you can help quickly increases. It’s all about finding something that suits your current schedule or financial capacity.
Is your company involved in community-building or philanthropic activities? Do you or your employees want to help others somehow, but are unsure of how to get involved? How do you work philanthropy into your operations?
While it’s important that your motivations for community engagement are not founded on a desire for commercial payoff, it also does not make sense to keep your good deeds a secret. Share the news about your volunteer efforts on your website, through social media or in a company newsletter. Ideally, these efforts inspire employees and clients alike to increase their own volunteer or philanthropic activity in the community.