Many businesses make the mistake of not getting involved in their communities. Outreach is important, especially if we want our business to thrive within and be embraced by those we wish to do business with.
There are solid reasons for this, all of which score us [and our business] a big warm fuzzy, as well as a boost to our bottom line.
The Chamber of Commerce runs “shop local” campaigns for a reason–because they work. By supporting local businesses and causes, we keep the money working in our own communities.
The more support a community has, the more robust the community will be and according to the NW Times:
“Local businesses create jobs, and statistics show that for every $100 dollars spent in local shops, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and miscellaneous expenditures.”
When money is spent locally, tax dollars go towards local issues like emergency response and roads. When charitable giving takes place locally it allows for individuals and entities to get a step-up instead of a hand-out.
A stronger community creates a stronger local economy.
Giving Is An Investment
We make many investments in our businesses. Aligning with a cause is just that, an investment. Whether it is our time, skills or a monetary gift that we pitch-in, the laws of karma will bring it back and localized involvement brings more localized recognition and trust which — in the long-run, will equal more business.
A great example of a business owner/company who understands this concept is Richard Zahn ZMG Construction. Zahn says:
“Our company has a long history of promoting charitable efforts.”
Zahn supports over a half a dozen charities in his community at any given time. He is an advocate for other individuals and business owners to “get out there” and support something they care about too.
The cause or charity we choose isn’t as important (business wise) as our genuine support of it. In other words, if you are new to this, don’t just choose something because it sounds good or you think it’s the “right fit”; choose it because you believe in it and truly care to make a difference.
Picking A Cause That Counts (to you)
Look in your local Yellow Pages or do a few Google searches to see what area charities are available. Typical causes that have local chapters are: food banks, domestic violence or homeless shelters, blood banks and more. There are sure to also be organizations promoting neighborhood safety, restoration or beautification projects.
E-how has a great little checklist for finding a cause. Who knows what else is out there until you look?
Focusing on one or two causes that are near and dear to your heart will help make your efforts count — and hopefully add up to new [or increased] business. Not only will you be doing something worthwhile, you will be adding prospects into your funnel with every “hello” and handshake along the way.
Developing positive community involvement takes time and consistency. Most organizations are wise to the “fly-by-night” “cause marketer”. Attaching yourself to a cause because you think you are going to get free advertising is not only rude, it simply won’t work and can actually be quite counterproductive and damaging.
Our reputations are the first lines of defense for our businesses; by nurturing the communities we do business in we not only reinforce our good name, we create the “talk of the town”.