Looking for new ways to help your business? Different ways? Try giving back to the community. Be a leader in the effort you provide.
One of the most beautiful compensations of life is that no man can help another without helping himself.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Why giving back to the community?
Some people claim their success has been justly earned without help from others along the way. But yet, this attitude is selfish, egotistical, and naive. Study results show that the zip code of your birth is more predictive of success than IQ, college grades, or genetics. These results were detailed in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers.” Nobody makes it through life entirely on his or her own merits, even if help is not obvious. As a consequence, everyone has a debt to repay – and a reason to give back.
Businesses that encourage and support community involvement distinguish themselves from their competitors. From this, they see many benefits, including loyal customers and happier employees. 82 percent of U.S. consumers consider corporate social responsibility (CSR). This is according to a May 2013 study by Cone Communications and Echo Research. Theses consumers apply CSR when deciding which products or services to buy and where to shop.
Giving back to the community by donating your time can be beneficial for many reasons. Not the least of which it is a win-win proposition for both you and your business, but also your community. Win-win decisions are the best. Not only can volunteering create a sense of achievement, but it can also help your business grow.
Here are a few of the areas where you may see value from your contributions and efforts to give back:
Expand your skills and experience
Even if you donate time doing the same type of work, volunteering provides an opportunity to try something new. You get to see more and experience more. You never know where you might learn a new skill, discover new ways, or expand your experience.
Strengthen your networks and build new relationships
Getting out there and volunteering in your community puts you in a great position to meet new people. These new relationships are good for networking. They also help to create a group of people to consult with outside of your immediate business network.
Being active as a volunteer gives you a chance to continue collaborating with existing colleagues. Teaming up for a greater good is a powerful way to strengthen bonds and relationships.
Giving back to the community … build relationships within your community
Look at your community to see what’s important. Are the schools struggling? Does the animal shelter need donations?
As an example, Pizza Ranch franchises host “community impact” nights. Such events are where friends and family members bus tables to support a local cause. Pizza Ranch donates the night’s tips and 5 to 20 percent of the profits to the cause. Also, community members often provide extra donations.
The business benefits because it fills the restaurant on a typically slow night. Building relationships start by making genuine connections with your customers. They then find ways everyone can contribute.
Adding balance to life
Volunteering makes you more well-rounded as a person and a well-rounded business owner. When you volunteer, you have an opportunity to improve many different life areas.
Personal growth makes you a better, more fulfilled person. It also can identify more productive goals in your business. Both ultimately become more successful.
Sometimes the best marketing is marketing that happens naturally.
This can happen when you are focused on tasks involving collaboration and teamwork. It is natural for discussion about what you do in business to come up with a volunteer opportunity.
The people you’re working with may not be your ideal customers. They may remember you and your business the next time they interact with someone.
Ways to give back to society … improved employee morale
One prominent benefit of a business giving back to a community is the response from employees. When employees see their employer commitment to a community, they gain more respect. A work environment with a highly respected leader results in more communication and efficiency. The morale is likelier to be improved in a work environment where the leader is trusted and respected.
Similarly, when a business gives employees opportunity to give back, employees feel more fulfilled. According to philanthropy consultant Erin Giles, the ability to volunteer provides employees with leadership opportunities. These can increase staff performance and provide a better sense of fulfillment
Benefits of giving back to the community … adding a brand plank
Everything you do on and off the job impacts your business brand. Giving back is one way to position yourself in a good light with everyone in the community. Spending effort for others, you are telling clients and colleagues that you are empathetic. That kind of positive action tends to be remembered over the long haul. Particularly if you are active and lead.
Go all in
If you’re going to do something, do it. Go all in. Doing it half in makes no sense at all to us. When a business has so many rules about sales that you wonder if they want to be bothered to sell you anything at all.
There is time
While not taking a lot of time, giving back can be the best thing you do to strengthen the business foundation. And it may even be something you enjoy and get a great deal of personal satisfaction from doing.
Clay Shirky has noticed the trend of talented people putting five or six hours an evening to work. Add that up across a million or ten million people, and the output is astonishing. He calls it cognitive surplus. He believes it’s one of the underappreciated world-changing stories of our time. We suggest that you and your business add to Clay’s list of talented people.
Do it, don’t procrastinate
We feel the words of Martin Luther King Junior spoken about a half a lifetime ago, apply well here:
“We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood — it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.”
Philanthropy can be a wonderful gateway into a network of professionals and leads alike. Each can help elevate a business from obscurity to prolific success. Philanthropy organizations include the “who’s who” of corporate bigwigs on their board of directors. They understand how integral philanthropy is to a business’ success and public perception. If a business owner works with these types, they have the opportunity to grow their business at a rapid pace.
Similarly, giving to their community can provide a business with connections to local leaders. These include government or religious figures. They can rapidly make a business the local “go-to” for that specific niche.
A great example was Facebook donating $120 million to schools in their local community. This resulted in easing residents’ negative fears. Now, because of its local connections and giving, Facebook is revered in the community.
It is a beautiful life compensation when man sincerely tries to help another without trying to help himself.
Goodness has a way of coming back; that is the nature of the beast. One doesn’t have to do good deeds for a return. It just happens.
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The lessons out of good deeds remain to inspire everyone to do same. One act of unselfishness stands out as a beacon for others to follow.
Have you found additional ways to focus and motivate good deeds?
Please share one of your stories on helping another with this community.
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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