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6 Ideas to Help Your Company Engage with the Community

By Garrett Spence   |    September 22, 2015   |    12:21 PM

How to Get Your Business Involved with the Local Community

Engaging with the local community is important for any small business. Being involved fosters a positive image and sets your company up for success, and this is especially helpful for organizations that depend on their community for the majority of their business.

Whether you want to be hyper-involved, or don’t have much excess time to spare, here are 6 ideas that will help your company engage with the community.

1. Paid time off for volunteer or charity work

If your operating budget allows for it, giving employees paid time off to give back is one surefire way to foster civic engagement. You can choose the types of projects employees are eligible to work on or give them full control to choose causes that they care the most about. You can offer as much or as little paid time off as you see fit, too. Volunteering empowers your employees to become more involved citizens, while simultaneously helping them develop leadership skills that often transfer to the workplace.

2. Organize company-wide volunteer projects

Granting paid time off for charity isn’t the only way to give back to your community. Get the entire office together for a philanthropic project of your choosing. Working together outside of the office can help solidify bonds between coworkers and it’s also an excellent team-building activity. Your small business benefits, and so does the overall community. From community kitchens to Habitat for Humanity building projects, there’s bound to be an initiative that resonates with your small business.

3. Participate in local events

Does your town or city regularly host events, like seasonal fairs or farmer’s markets? Contact the organizing committee to see whether there are any sponsorship opportunities. There’s a good chance that you’ll get your business name in front of your target customers and you’ll also get up close and personal with the community in a fun and friendly environment.

4. Host your own local events

If your business has the manpower and budget, hosting an event in your town can be another wonderful way to engage with the community. Charity events tend to be popular, with proceeds from the event going toward local causes and initiatives. Plus, the event opportunities are nearly endless: golf outings, family-centric barbeques or picnics, mixers at a local restaurant, fun runs… chances are, you can think of an event that your community would love.

5. Establish a grant or scholarship program

If you ever had to figure out how to pay for college or how to finance your next business venture, you can almost certainly relate to members of your community facing the same issues. Creating a grant or scholarship program that aligns with your company’s industry and mission is one great way to give back to the community. You’ll also be supporting the next generation of local leaders.

6. Get involved with your local Chamber of Commerce

Your business doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and networking with other small business owners in your locality is the perfect way to continue working toward a robust local economy. These contacts can open the doors for new business collaborations and everyone can work together to ensure that businesses within the community are operating with the community’s best interests at heart. Local associations and organizations are also great places to meet other small business owners.

How does your small business stay involved with the community? Or, could your organization spend more time being engaged with it’s hometown? Share your stories and thoughts in the comments below!
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