As a business, you will live or die based on your community. However, once you become affluent based on their support, you should never forget where you came from. You should do so when you’re in a position to give back.
Not only is this the right thing to do, but it’s also a smart PR move. Just think about it; your community will pay attention and think more highly of you. As a local business, you’ll be even more accepted as a part of the local community. This may help you develop a greater sense of belonging.
Now that we’ve established that this is the right and ethical thing to do, here are some ways to give back.
Invest in Local Education
An investment in education is a humane, wise, and even self-serving one. First of all, people appreciate non-material gestures, especially when they’re directed toward children. Donating to a local school or a youth center is one of the best things you can do for the community. It ensures greater civic engagement and investment toward the community’s higher future wealth.
The simplest way to get there is to consider various community outreach programs. What is a community outreach program? This strengthens bonds and strengthens bonds between a business and an educational institution. This is also a great structured way in which you provide value with minimum obstacles.
Also, remember that you’re also a part of that community. The school that you donate to is likely a school that your kids will attend. It’s also a school that your future employees, customers, and partners will attend. Establishing a connection this early ensures that there’s time for these trust bonds to develop fully.
Giving money is the easy way out. Sure, donations are more than appreciated but sacrificing your time (that you could spend working or resting) to help with a cause will show that you care. Sure, your brand will reflect on the business. However, you may want to volunteer as a business. How do you do that?
First of all, while volunteering is innately ethical, it’s unethical to force your employees to volunteer. They have their own free time, and they need to do this of their own volition. Even on their paid time, it’s questionable whether you have the right (both moral and legal) to make them do something outside of their contract.
This has to be voluntary, and you must find a way to convey this to your staff. Ensure they feel no pressure and try to send a message that they’re completely free to say no (without any repercussions).
To ensure this won’t be the problem, you might want to mention volunteering in the hiring and onboarding process. You also want to ensure your hires are a great cultural fit. This way, there won’t be any issues.
Offer Discounts to the Members of the Local Community
This interesting concept is way more cunning than it looks at first. Chances are that you’ve already planned a discount. Also, chances are that the vast majority of your customers are local. So, what’s the difference between a local and a general discount? The perception is different.
Everyone loves exclusivity. This is like the reverse FOMO; in the eyes of your local community, everyone else is missing out but them. It also helps show your intention. You show that you’re:
- Focused on the local community
- That when you call yourself a local business, you put local before business
- That you have long-term plans to grow as a local business
- Remember that this is still a regular discount, so you need to make a price adjustment that you can actually take. In other words, you’re applying all the principles of a regular discount and just labeling it as local. Also, while proof of residence is required for this to work, the truth is that you don’t have to insist on it. This is just a discount you use to show your good faith.
Sponsor a Community Event or Effort
Giving back can be incredibly time- and effort-consuming. While the goal is worth it, the problem is that, as a business, you really don’t have the time to waste. The thing is that your business must make money to survive and to put you in a position to help anyone. If you run your business into the ground, there are no donations, sponsorships, or youth programs.
Sacrificing one day every week for volunteering programs is just unsustainable. However, what if you could pool much effort and resources into a single push? What if you could organize an event or push for an effort that will give a positive yield?
The key obstacle remains which event or effort to sponsor. You can always make a poll in the local community or even among your employees. The latter would be great for your business culture.
It’s the local lake you’re polluting, the local landfill you’re filling, and the emissions from the cars of your employees heading to work going straight to the local air. This is why going green has the potential to make a huge difference.
As a small business, you may feel like your contribution won’t make much of a difference, but this is just dodging responsibility. You need to be the change you want to see in the world.
The best part is that you can go green in so many ways in 2023. You can pick a green hosting option, allow some of your employees to work from home, or install solar panels on the roof of your office building. All you have to do is pick one.
Unless you have a fully remote office and work with clients from around the globe, your business relies heavily on the local community. Even if the example from the previous sentence was true, you still live in your local community, so improving it is always partially self-serving. The above-listed ideas are great, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg of all your available options.