Community responsibility is something everyone should participate in, including businesses. Although giving back to your community does boost your brand awareness, it also shows you care about the people around you and want to make your town a better place to live.
When given a choice between a company that supports a cause and one that doesn't, 89 percent of people say they'd switch to the brand that helps a cause.
Local causes are even more attractive to consumers. While you shouldn’t only give back to gain customers, it is a nice perk to doing something that makes you feel good and helps those around you.
What does giving back look like for the average company?
It can vary from fundraisers to volunteer work to financial contributions. That means you can give back no matter your budget or business type.
Your company can give back in several ways on a local level and boost your brand awareness — here are six ideas:
1. Sponsor Sports Teams
A straightforward way to have a clear presence in your community is to sponsor sports teams.
This helps the kids trying to play various community sports, and it also puts your name in front of their parents. This shows that you care about your community and the youth who live there — and that you’ll support them in any small way you can.
Sponsoring a sports team doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, either. Goodfellas Pizza in the small town of Henryville, Indiana is quite active for such a small business. They sponsor various teams and school events, buying uniforms and offering them pizza.
They also work with local groups to put on fundraisers, where a certain amount of food purchased between specific hours goes toward the cause.
2. Set Up Collection Jars
If your business has a brick-and-mortar location, set up collection jars and allow people to raise funds through your company. For example, if someone in the community is fighting cancer, put out a jar and collect funds for them and their family.
If you can afford it, you could offer to match what is raised up to a certain amount. This allows you to present the family with a check that could make a difference during a time when they need the extra help.
3. Volunteer as a Team
Give your employees the time to invest in the community. In one survey, 89 percent of respondents stated companies offering opportunities to volunteer provide an overall better work atmosphere than those that don’t.
The chance to work at causes they believe in is also attractive to younger workers, allowing you to attract new blood and innovative ideas to your company.
For example, The Exterior Company takes the opportunity to list some of the organizations they’re involved with on their website. They list that they give monthly donations to Habitat for Humanity and that volunteers work with the organization to create homes for low-income people.
They also participate in yearly walks to increase awareness of Williams Syndrome, a developmental disorder, and they give financially to JAARS, a Christian organization that spreads God's word to Asia, Africa, and the Pacific.
4. Support Employees
Nearly everyone you meet has had or is currently going through some challenges in their lives. Perhaps their child or another family member has an aggressive disease.
When your employees approach you to raise money for these causes, come alongside them. This allows you not only to show support to your employees but also to reach their family and friends as they are almost guaranteed to share that you've supported their cause.
Even if you can’t afford to give financially to each cause, you can help with a fundraiser they’re throwing or assign different team leaders to walk alongside or run a bake sale table with them.
5. Host Benefit Dinners
Hosting a benefit dinner is a fast way to pull a lot of people together and raise funds for an organization. An added benefit of putting on an event is that you increase awareness.
So, if you want to shine light on a disease or disorder, hosting a benefit dinner or gala is a fantastic way to accomplish this.
Consumer’s Energy hosted a charity dinner to raise money for MIS Cares, which is a group that assists and inspires youth in the community via grants and scholarships. They work alongside NASCAR and the Michigan International Speedway to put on the event.
Race car drivers appear at the event, and donors purchase tickets to help raise funds for the cause. By teaming up with celebrities, Consumer’s Energy draws attention to what they do and the cause they’re trying to promote.
6. Offer Free Training or Classes
Another way you can give back to your local community is to offer free classes or some training related to your industry.
If you own a golf course, for example, offer a free day of golf lessons to kids or a chance for families to come out one night and test out your course. Not everyone can afford to golf — it can be an expensive hobby — so offering this to your local community for free helps expose lower-income kids to something new and exciting.
Another idea is to hold a seminar for free and teach people what you know. This is especially beneficial if you teach them something that will make their lives easier or more enjoyable.
There are many ways you could incorporate free training or classes into your business, so be on the lookout for ways to make the lives of those in your community happier.
Giving Back Matters
The way you treat those around you matters. How do you treat the people in your community who can’t do anything at all for you?
Consumers do pay attention and notice the attitude of you and your company. If they see you genuinely care about where you live, they’re much more likely to support your business than if they feel you’re only out to gain revenue.
Lexie Lu is a freelance graphic designer and blogger. She keeps up with the latest design news and always has some coffee in close proximity. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.