Getting involved in your local community and leverage the benefits are not as straightforward as you may think. Here are a few things to think about when making community outreach apart of your company.
- To have the best and most productive employees, work needs to be about more than just work. It is no secret that work and personal lives blend. What can be a secret is leveraging it. Employees like to feel that they personally make a difference, because of this when introducing a community outreach program let them have a say. Find out what organizations and causes are important to your employees. As a group, select two or three per year to support. This sets limits, encourages employees to speak their mind, allows the company to create a unified message in the community, and most importantly makes volunteering enjoyable and not “just more work.”
- Volunteering is not the same as advertising. While the results of volunteering and advertising are similar, it is vital that a company does not mistake them as interchangeable. A company’s outreach within the community creates and builds relationships while advertising is about a call to action. Abusing your volunteering time or money is sure to damage your brand far worse than a bad advertising campaign would.
- Donating time, money, or both is a tough decision. There are three main approaches you can take with community outreach: donating money, setting aside so many days (donating time), or allocating a certain number of hours that your employees can go be a part of events of their choosing. All three have their strengths and reasons behind why they are valuable. Once you choose what organizations or causes your company will support, it will be easier to decide what approach is right for your company. Most often it is a blending of the three that makes community outreach effective for all involved.
People want to do business with those that support their local community and give back. Making volunteering a part of your culture and brand will provide results: creating brand awareness, allowing the market to attach faces to your brand, increase profits, reduce hiring costs, and providing a personal connection for your employees. It benefits the employees, the company, and the community.