5 Fabulous Ways to Benefit Your Community through Your Business
5) Be mindful of your choices.
Shop local, buy green, support women of color and encourage small businesses. We always have a choice: we have a choice in who we hire, we have a choice in which materials we use, and we have a choice in how we go about our business processes.
I encourage you to benefit your community by shopping local, buying "green", supporting women of color in business, and when possible, buying from independent and small businesses. Your mindfulness about your choices may keep money circulating within your local community. Your mindfulness may reduce environmental impact and may employ local men and women. Your mindfulness may even assist another business in giving back to the community! If you cannot find a local supplier, make the effort to support your worldwide "family" of companies and causes you support. From your pens and pencils all the way to the stocks in your mutual funds: be MINDFUL of your choices.
4) Promote a local non-profit in your advertising materials.
As a leader in business, you have access to a great mix of customers, suppliers, and business associates. Let others know how much you care about your local community. You might be a real estate agent promoting your 10% of commissions to a local homeless shelter; or you might represent a computer company promoting a donation of laptops to a local school.
Whichever situation, I recommend "adopting" a non-profit or issue area as part of your overall business priorities. Add this priority to your marketing mix. Promote your participation on your website, in your newsletter, in your print materials, and when you interview with local media, and raise your company's profile and your non-profit partner's image at the same time.
3) Participate in an athletic event... for a cause.
Encourage staff, partners, clients, and associates to join your team. There are plenty of organizations that will help you organize, train, and finish an athletic event, as an individual (but better as a team) from your company. Some ideas to help get you started: Team-in-Training runs marathons and half-marathons, the AIDS/LifeCycle offers a bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and the Komen Race for the Cure® has a variety of races with over 1 million participants every year. You get in shape, foster team spirit with your friends, and you raise funds for much-needed work to help our communities.
2) Organize, organize, organize.
Help organize an event for a local issue that ignites your passion. If you are in business, your list of contacts is a big one, and you can use your networking abilities to the benefit of your community. Help organize an event: it might be a lemonade stand, a charity ball, or somewhere in between. Join an existing committee if there is one, or find an upcoming event through Craigslist.org or Idealist.org to join the organizers.
Hint: open up your address book to find silent auction donors, sponsors, and invitees. Or, hold a meet-and-greet at your home with a community-based organization in your area. Your friends will know more about a local group and you will have a great party! And the number one way to benefit your community through your business:
1) Find a non-profit and donate your services.
Pro Bono is the way to go, baby. If you love what you do, support your cause with your talents: give our non-profit community an opportunity to engage your services or install your products at a deep, deep discount. You benefit by sharing your business skills with your non-profit client, the non-profit benefits by improving their quality of service or availability of product, and the community benefits from accessing a wider, better pool of opportunities. Pro bono, pro bono, pro bono.
I've personally donated almost 2 and a half years of full time work to the causes I adore and I think it's an excellent way to make use of your skills.
Thank you for supporting our worldwide community.