Have you heard the saying, “It is in giving that we receive”?  For small business owners, “giving” can lead to greater awareness of your business, more customers, and a deeper sense of community for you and your employees.

The specific ways you choose to “give back” will depend on many factors, including your specific goals, how much time you have, and what special talents you or your employees have to contribute. With so many opportunities available for volunteering and giving back in your community, how do choose the right projects for your business?  A great way to begin is by identifying your goals.

Is your goal to:

  • Get involved with something you love? Go with your passion! Many business owners have passions for a particular cause, such as a health, education or community development. Getting involved in organizations that help causes you believe in will connect you with like-minded people and attract them to you.
  • Boost your public image and learn more about your customers? Look for opportunities that match the interest of your target customers. Perhaps residents near your business are highly invested in education. Your company could donate goods or services to support school fundraising efforts. Or perhaps your community is passionate about the environment. You and your employees could volunteer to restore or cleanup neighborhood parks. According to a May 2013 Communications and Echo Research study, 82 percent of U.S. consumers consider social responsibility when deciding which products or services to buy and where to shop.
  • Build loyalty within your business and foster teamwork with your employees? Connecting your employees with their community enriches their skills, professional development, engagement, and commitment to the business. According to The Huffington Post, The fact are clear; businesses promoting and providing employees with meaningful volunteer opportunities help attract top talent; engage, develop and retain employees; boost public image and improve the bottom line. And, according to a Deloitte Volunteer Impact Survey, more than 60 percent of job-seeking Millennials stated that a business-sponsored volunteer program would influence them “when choosing between two potential jobs with the same location, responsibilities, pay, and benefits.”

Build Volunteerism Into Your Marketing Strategy

As a small business owner, making a commitment to invest your time and talent to your local community is just one component of your overall marketing strategy.  Make it a part of your marketing calendar for the next 12 months. You’ll learn about your market, help your employees thrive and you might even grow your bottom line. As a nice side-benefit, you’ll also get to know other small businesses in your area, increasing the awareness of your business among them!