Giving Back: How It Can Help You Build Your Business
National Philanthropy Day just passed (Nov 15, 2019) and we’re in the season of giving. It’s time to turn our attention to ways we can give back to our communities. While many of you are already volunteering in your communities or contributing to charitable organizations, now is a great time to take a second look at some of the most popular ways to give back and how they have the potential to build your business.
During eChapter in October, we heard from Sheryl Green, an expert of cause marketing who teaches business how to leverage the power of doing good to improve their visibility, favorability, and profitability. Sheryl shares how to choose a non-profit to partner with on her blog and recently released a new book Do Good to Do Better: The Small Business Guide to Growing Your Business by Helping Nonprofits.
Here are some ways you can give back as a business owner:
Some people argue that financial contributions are the “lazy person’s way of giving back.” In reality, non-profit organizations rely on fundraising as a way to keep the doors open and the lights on. Even if you cannot contribute large amounts of money to causes you believe in, having your name included on a list of donors can open doors with potential clients, vendors and even employees.
Sponsor a Local Event
For small, local businesses, sponsoring a community event can be a great way to get your brand recognized while providing value to your community. Not only will your brand be splashed around the event space, members of your locale will associate your business with your support of that event. If there is a product or service tie-in, even better. You can write off your sponsorship as an advertising expense and experience greater web or foot traffic and better sales while contributing to a sense of community where you live.
We have already talked about how volunteering can help enhance your skills and bridge a gap in your resume, but many small business owners are reluctant to volunteer with community organizations for two reasons. First, they seldom think they have the time, and secondly, they don’t want to give away their expertise for free. In reality, using your skills to volunteer with or develop another organization gives you an opportunity to build your professional network while putting your knowledge to good use. We are not suggesting giving away your proprietary secrets, but offering your expertise to another organization for a few hours a month can spread good will that will come back to you in the form of customers. If it takes between six and eight “touches” for a client to be ready to make a purchase or close a deal, and some of those take place in a philanthropic environment, that is less marketing you have to do.
Organizations such as Pacific Community Ventures and Community Consulting Teams provide volunteers with an opportunity to support a project as part of a team or as an individual. In addition to providing a platform to volunteer, there is tremendous value in the networking provided through these opportunities.
Host a “Drive”
Whether you want to fill the shelves of your local food bank or make sure the animal shelter has adequate food and bedding, hosting a “drive” at your physical location is a great way to increase foot traffic. Offering an incentive along with the drive is a surefire way to get people in the door, especially during slow times. Just be sure to advertise your drive with your current clientele and local community and make it as easy as possible to make donations. Not only will your cause of choice thank you, potential customers will think of you at times other than when they typically purchase a product or service.
Giving back will not only do something great for your community and boost your morale, it will help you grow your business in welcome but unexpected ways.