They say that charity begins at home, and this is never more true than now, when the problems of the world seem so big in scope and insurmountable. While many of us feel helpless in the face of wise-spread violence, poverty and disease, doing small things to contribute to the community you live in puts such problems in a more intimate context, making them seem solvable.
The importance of comunity involvement can be instilled from an early age by providing volunteer opportunities through school and social organizations and by parents demonstrating to their children the positive affects of volunteerism and random acts of kindness; children live what they learn and emulate what they see. Local businesses are in a unique position to give back to their communities, and a smart business owner will take the initiative to lead by example and take a proactive roll in community involvement.
What’s in it For Me?
Aside from the feel-good and tax incentives for charitable involvement, there are other advantages to giving back to your community, like:
Promoting goodwill within the community
ROI in terms of investment in the future of prospective employees and customers
Promoting customer loyalty
Instilling a spirit of teamwork and cooperation within your organization
How to Give Back
If you don’t already have a plan in place, here are some easy ways that you can get involved today.
1. Identify problem areas in your community, whether it’s education, poverty or social justice. Find out what’s being done in these areas, then determine how your organization can get involved in helping to provide solutions.
2. Find mentoring opportunities among the youth and disavantaged population in your community and encourage your employees to do the same. This could take the form of sponsoring a local youth group, getting involved in after school programs or donating to local shelters through food and clothing drives.
3. Allow your staff to have some input. Maybe your middle manager has a personal cause that the whole organization can get behind or your assistant already gives time to volunteerism with an organization that needs extra funding or personnel. When your staff feels like part of the decision making process and solution, they’re more likely to participate with enthusiasm and keep the momentum up beyond the initial excitement.
4. Pick one or two avenues of involvement; spreading yourself too thin will dilute your efforts and makes less of an impact.
Palmco and ACCO are examples of companies who practice what they preach about community involvement. Whether you’re a business owner, an employee or a private citizen, there are ample opportunities to make a difference in your local community and society at-large. search online or check with local charitable organizations to learn ways you can help.