My parents stressed the value of giving back to the community. I was brought up that it was the right thing to do. Over 27 years as an entrepreneur and business owner, I’ve learned that it’s also the smart thing to do.
A good way to ensure your business thrives in your community is to help build a thriving community. Here are just a few of the benefits your business can reap:
- Build awareness. Potential customers become aware of your business when they see your name and logo associated with charity fundraisers and other local affairs.
- Make connections. Every time you join the board of a local nonprofit, take part in a community festival or head a committee for your local chamber of commerce, you meet people who can help your business and are motivated to do so.
- Recruit great talent. Charitable companies gain an edge, especially in recruiting younger prospects. A 2016 poll by Morning Consult found that nearly two-thirds of people between the ages of 18 and 34 preferred working for a company that gives to charity.
- Improve morale. Companies that provide volunteer opportunities often see improvements in employee motivation, productivity and retention. It feels good to do good.
- Generate publicity. Local media cover community and charitable events. Coverage can range from having your name mentioned as an event sponsor to a standalone story about the good work your company does.
- Defend profit margins. According to Nielsen’s annual Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 66 percent of consumers worldwide are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a brand that has invested in making its community and the planet better places to live.
Once you’re convinced of the benefits of giving back, how do you decide which organizations to support? Here are a few pointers:
- Look for a good fit. Review your company’s mission and vision statements. Seek out charities that share your values.
- Keep it local. For maximum impact, take on causes that have roots in the communities where you operate.
- Follow your passion. When investing your time and money, choose a cause that inspires enthusiasm.
- Engage customers and associates. Select causes that resonate with your customers and associates.
- Do due diligence. Make sure the charities are both legitimate and effective. For larger organizations, you can research using online tools such as CharityNavigator.org or GuideStar.org. For smaller, local causes, you may need to interview the executives and other sponsors.
After you’ve chosen a cause, decide how much time and other resources you can invest. Don’t forget to set goals and measure your progress toward meeting them.
Allowing your employees to participate in volunteer opportunities is another great way to strengthen relationships with community organizations. In the end, you’ll find that giving back yields dividends throughout your company and your community.
Greg Ubert is the founder and president of Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea. Since 1991, Crimson Cup has roasted sustainably sourced specialty and craft coffee in small batches. The company also teaches entrepreneurs to run a successful coffee shop through its coffee franchise alternative program, which includes a coffee shop business plan. Crimson Cup coffee is available through a community of more than 350 independent coffee shops, grocers, college and universities, restaurants and food service operations, as well as in the company’s own coffee shops in Columbus.