Last Updated 10 months by Emily Standley-Allard
Whether your business is global or a small mom-and-pop establishment, giving back to local communities unquestionably helps build brand reputation and gives your company a purpose. Most businesses want to be good neighbors to those around them. In practice, though, it’s hard to remember to give back consistently. Below are some amazing examples to inspire you!
Growing business awareness starts at a local level and then ripples out into the world.
If you haven’t focused on how you can enhance your town, now is the time to think about the various impacts you might have.
Why Is It Important for Local Businesses to Give Back?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a mere 35% of small businesses survive the ten-year mark. Around 50% survive five years. What is the secret sauce that makes one company thrive and another fail?
Building a solid base of like-minded supporters is one element of building a long-term successful business.
If you have raving fans, they’ll tell others about you. You’ll attract more and more customers via word-of-mouth.
Building a lasting company sometimes seems like slow progress, but consistency almost always wins.
Giving back is a great start to connecting with others who have a similar value system and care about local communities as well.
Here are some reasons why you should give back to your local area and how you can make an impact.
1. Choose Your Cause
Every company owner cares about something different.
For one company, it might be something as simple as contributing to a local little league and supporting youth.
For others, there may be a particular organization they believe in or some disease they want to end.
Choose your cause and you can then find local ways to get involved and help out.
If the cause somehow goes with your business model, that’s fabulous, but it doesn’t have to.
For example, a local bottled water delivery service embraces clean waterways in town.
Approximately 73% of consumers want companies to give back to local communities.
Finding a cause near your heart benefits those around you and improves your brand image.
Cleaning All Stars makes it a point to embrace causes they care about.
They clean local nonprofit businesses at no charge. They also offer some complimentary cleaning services to patients going through cancer treatment.
The owner of the company has a daughter who was diagnosed with Leukemia, so giving back with free cleanings is near and dear to their heart.
2. Expand Your Network
When you get out in the community and help others, you find key opportunities for networking.
The dad whose handicapped daughter your employees built a ramp for might just be the owner of a local shopping center.
Perhaps he reaches out when they have a local business showcase and invites you to participate.
Each person you know and work alongside to improve the world around you becomes a connection that expands your reach.
There is a principle called The Six Degrees of Separation.
Basically, we are only separated from meeting someone we want to by six other people. So, perhaps a connection you need is a friend, of a friend, of a friend.
3. Build Up Other Companies
How amazing would it be to not only make an impact on the people who live around your company but to expand that reach by teaching other companies to do the same.
When you give back to your local community, you set an example and you share the ways it can be accomplished by businesses big and small.
Presence cares about the planet and they not only give back by financially contributing to like-minded organizations but they also contribute active work where they are, such as community gardens or giving food to the poor.
The company offers their employees eight paid hours a year to volunteer for any organization or cause they’d like.
4. Create Positive Brand Image
Whether your reputation is already good or could use a little cleanup, giving back to your local community adds a positive spin to how others see your organization.
Not only will those you help see your company as a good neighbor, but you could gain positive press.
While you should never give back just to try to get something out of it, it’s certainly fine to benefit from your efforts in this small way.
Your competitors may be looking at how they can get the next sale while you’re building lasting relationships with local citizens.
5. Improve the World Around You
Forbes recently reported that 71% of Americans feel brands have a responsibility to give back.
What is the real purpose of living, running a business and spending your time on this planet if not to make things better in some way.
What legacy will you leave behind for future generations?
Is it a positive or negative one?
You can choose a single cause as the sisters in the example below did and have a big impact on a local nonprofit you care about.
Two Alaskan sisters took their love of nature and turned it into a business called Arctic Haven Studio.
Their artwork is made from hand-cut paper pieces.
While they don’t publicly promote their efforts, in multiple interviews and on their social media pages they mention donations they’ve made to the cause of keeping the environment they love pristine.
They give 10% of their profits the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.
6. Attract Like-Minded Employees
In a time where there are labor shortages in many industries, finding top-notch employees isn’t always an easy task.
How can you possibly compete with big corporations and their fancy 401Ks and perks?
One way is by setting up an environment where those who care about the same things you do feel drawn.
When you have a purpose and a passion, others with the same purpose and passion will come alongside you.
You may land that fabulous new graduate because they care about the charity you’ve adopted.
It’s the Right Thing to Do
Although there are many compelling reasons to give back to your local community, sometimes you should just do something because it’s the decent thing.
When you build up those around you, you create a place to live that is attractive to everyone.
You, your children, your neighbors and all your friends and family in the area will benefit.
And, doing something for the right reasons and making a difference feels good.
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Eleanor is the editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the director at a marketing agency prior to becoming a freelance web designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and dog, Bear.
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