One of the best ways to ensure customer loyalty and gain new customers is to ‘do unto others.’ People respect companies that support their local communities. It shows that an organization, big or small, is comprised of people that have a vested interest in the areas where they do business – and the people who live in those areas.
Whether you are helping clean up a park, working at a local food bank, or reading to school children, doing your part to help the people who support your business not only helps them, it helps you as well.
According to a study by Harvard Law School, companies who engage in corporate social responsibility can be seen as providing value to customers on a number of different levels. This increase value proposition leads to more loyal customers. Even customers who are willing to evangelize on a company’s behalf.
Don’t know where to start? Small local business are in a unique position to have a positive impact on their communities.
- Partner with local schools. Schools are always in need, whether it be for supplies or your time. Does your business sell something that a local school could use? Could they use volunteers to help with activities like reading to students or organizing events? Do your employees have expertise in a particular area that would be interesting or useful to students?
- Partner with community organizations. Whether it is a food bank or a beautification project, organizations are often made up of volunteers and are often in need of help. They also often need money. You could offer to underwrite or host a fundraising event.
- Sponsor a local team. Find a local youth sports team that is in need of a sponsor. By providing funding to these teams, the burden is lifted from parents who often have to pay for things like uniforms, snacks and travel. (And those parents will thank you.)
- Organize a drive. Partner with a local organization who is in need of items (clothes, food, supplies) and have a competition among your employees to see who can bring in the most items.
By participating in community outreach activities and allowing your employees the time to volunteer, you also have the added benefit of more engaged and loyal employees. Many companies have a ‘Day of Caring’ in which they either plan an entire day of community activities or allow their employees a day to participate in their favorite community outreach.
Do you have a unique community outreach program? Share with us in the comments or on social media.