business community

12 Ways Your Business Can Help the Local Community

Many businesses want to give back to the community in some way but where do you start? This article investigates 12 different ways your business can support your local community.

How can my business help the community?

 Firstly, define WHY you want to do it. Here are some of the most common reasons:

1 To help others in the community

2 To make a difference in the world

3 As a way of attracting more clients to my business through increased visibility in the community

4 To share some of the benefits of my good fortune with others less fortunate4

5 Allow the team to use their skills for the benefit of others

6 As a team-building exercise

7 A way of attracting good staff

Every person and every business will have their own reasons to give back!

Like all decisions, the decision to give back will be shaped by you and your company’s values, although supported by cool logic.

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How can my business help the community?

Here’s what you could do

1). Give away some of your surplus products

Either commit to giving away a percentage of your production to good causes, or donate any surplus stock.

Many supermarkets give away their unsold or past best-before date to food banks or homeless charities every day. We’ve heard of Coffee shops giving their coffee grinds to community gardens as it makes an excellent fertiliser!

2). Provide services for free

Every charity needs the same skills that a business needs to operate. If you run a service business such as accounting, law, HR, Marketing, or IT for example smaller charities could benefit from your services to help them develop as an organisation. Larger charities tend to employ or formally pay for outsourcing so you never know, your good deeds may lead to additional income (though don’t let that be your reason for volunteering your services!).

3). Organise a company volunteer day

Volunteering can turn out to be a great team bonding activity too. If there are local non-profit organisations that arrange events you can join in with, don’t hesitate to sign up.

4). Go Green

When we talk about giving back to the community, it doesn’t have to limit you to your local community.

The world is one community, and we are all facing one common problem – climate change. There’s no better time to start adopting sustainable practices (or increasing them) than now.

5). Hire people with varying needs

Providing a job opportunity is one of the most valuable resources a business can offer. Whether it be to support the local economy,  helping an association to get people off the streets, support rehabilitation programmes, or simply to assist someone to get back on their feet. There are many hard-working people out there who need employment opportunities after having health issues, mental issues, or a long absence from the workplace.

6). Select suppliers that Care

All the good you are doing in your business can be wiped away in an instant by your suppliers that don’t share your socially conscious vision. Ensure that your raw materials are produced ethically and you will become a more sustainable business in the process.

7). Allow your staff to volunteer some of their work time

Give your staff a day a month to participate in a good cause of their choosing. Maybe doing the gardening for elderly people, litter picking, or canal clean-up (check permissions first) or doing something more ambitious such as building a new storage facility for a community group.

8). Provide workspace

Not-for-profit and charities are often looking for space to use for meetings and events, so why not let them use your empty after-hours workspace or even allow the use of any unused capacity you have on your premises.  Always check your lease contracts and insurance cover before offering out your space.

 9). Add a giving forward option to your sale

I first came across this in New Zealand when we stopped for a cuppa. The Coffee Shop had a scheme where you could buy a coffee for someone else who could not afford to do so, you just put whatever you wanted in the “pot” e.g. a cup of coffee, a cake, a full meal and then the shop would then donate the real drinks and food on your behalf.

10). One-for-one giving model

For every sale that you make, a donation is made to a charity. For example, if you sell dog food 10% of the value for every purchase made is given to the local dog rescue centre. Or for every TV sold, plant a tree in the local area which also has the added advantage of supporting a green agenda, just ensure you speak with the local council in question first before your start digging!

11). Promote a charity in your company’s marketing

An example of this is the DVLA actively asking you to register as an Organ Donor when you update your driving license which has encouraged 8.5 million people to do so since the program started in 1994.  Locally you could ask for donations to support a local wildlife centre or dog rescue centre in your area.

12). Support causes your staff care about

I used to work for HP and they worked with an organisation that donated to numerous people in need around the world.  The idea was that HP employees could allocate ‘a business loan’ (using money that HP provided) to people in the third world through an app, allowing them to buy supplies for their projects in business. The supported business would repay the loan over time and employees could then allocate the returned funds to another business.

Link up with charities or find ways where your team has autonomy over decisions, so in effect, they are choosing to support a charity that they care about or have an affinity with. Think of the tokens you receive in Waitrose and how you decide which charity box to pop the token in.

How can my business help the community?
Whatever your business, you can give back to your community whether it be local, national, or international.

Article written by Rupert Turton of ActionCOACH. Find out more about Coaching Programmes .

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