A community is more than just a town or neighborhood. It’s that sense of belonging, of an almost familial togetherness that binds the people who live there. It takes a community to make a small business successful and where goodness is given, goodness is due. Regardless of how little time we may feel like we have, setting aside some to give back to the community is never a bad decision. Here, we set forth five reasons to carve out some time to give back.
It’s the Right thing to Do
Is there ever a better reason than that? While we may need charts, graphs, and numerical evidence to make a lot of decisions in life and in business, it’s important to sometimes simplify the process down to “what is the right thing to do?” We put this reason first because really it should be the only one that we need to take action. If you are fortunate enough to have a business that pays your bills, keeps gas in your car, food on your table and clothes on your back, then it is only right that you extend a hand to others who haven’t experienced that good fortune yet.
Maybe if we stop thinking about people in a tough spot as being permanently less fortunate and instead see them as being in a temporary situation, it may make it easier to find a way to help.
Make A Connection
If you’re the type who needs more concrete reasoning to be convinced, consider this. Helping out in your community is a great way to meet other people who care about your community. This could lead to some meaningful relationships, and yes, potentially a new customer or two. The more like-minded people you are around, the better your chances of making connections that can not only enrich your life but your business as well. Who knows, you may meet your new best friend, future partner or most loyal client along the way.
Along with making potential positive connections, when you volunteer in your community you are also advertising your business. Depending on how you decide to give back—volunteering your time, services or donating money or products—you should get a credit on whatever materials the organization that you are volunteering with produces. That may be printed flyers for an event, a website, and/or social media. Another great way to get your name out there is to request a mention in the organization’s email newsletter, along with a link back to your website. This is an instant way to get more visibility to an audience that can truly benefit your business and local potential clients.
Set an Example
This works in two ways. First of all, you are setting an example for those around you (young people, peers, staff and even your current clients). You have the ability to influence others decisions and actions through your own. Use it for good! By setting an example through actions rather than words, you are showing others that not only do you mean what you say (demonstrating dependability and trustworthiness, two qualities you want when doing business with someone, hint, hint) but you are also showing that it is not an impossible task.
Secondly, you are setting a good example for those you are helping. One of our good friends, Karen Marie—owner of Karen Marie Salon in Chicago—demonstrated this by volunteering at a local domestic abuse shelter to coach women through the process of getting their cosmetology license. Not only was she encouraging these women to support themselves and their children, but she was leading them by example; a great way to make a real and lasting connection.
What Goes Around…
Whether or not you believe in karma, most people agree that generally, what you put out, you get back. This goes for giving back as well. Taking away the kismet element for a moment and bringing things back to a more concrete and rational level, the more people see you pitching in and helping out others when needed, the more likely they are to do the same for you if the situation arises. Lives and businesses tend to have their peaks and valleys and we all need a helping hand from time to time. The more you do to help when you can, the higher the chances that other will do the same for you. Set the tone, be the change, however, you want to view it, the important thing is that you do it.
If you want to learn more about how to help out your community, check out: 10 Little Things To Help People Look & Feel Better.