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Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean that you have the “excuse” of being completely profit-driven and disregarding everything else. To be seen as a part of the community (that the majority of your customers belong to), you need to start giving back.

Aside from standard moral and ethical reasons, there are so many reasons for you to give back. A stronger community will mean a stronger customer basis. Also, you want to draw some positive attention and earn some social credit (favors). This way, even if there’s a controversy somewhere in the future, the bulk of public opinion will initially be on your side. Most importantly, this is one of your best networking opportunities.

Now, no one expects you to donate a new ward to the local hospital. However, there are so many things you can do to give back to the community, the community that was, so far, so good to you. With that in mind and without further ado, here are the top four things you can do to give back.

Team Up with Local Schools

Investing in education means investing in the future of the community. Children are the future, and by helping out schools through such civic engagement activities, you’re grooming future community leaders. Every child who eventually pursues their education path to its end and becomes an expert in their respective field is bound to become a pillar of society.

You can organize events or even outright donate to schools. The key thing is that you’re focusing your attention on a single, specific goal. As we’ve mentioned, as a small business, you have a limited budget. It’s better to provide some assistance from time to time than to bankrupt yourself trying to make one big gesture. As your business grows, so will your ability to help. In other words, never lose sight of the big picture.

Now, what does “focus your attention” means? Instead of just making a general donation, try to invest in something specific. Sure, you can’t renovate the whole school, but you can make a donation of new equipment to the science lab. This targeted effort will be both noticeable and impactful.

Go Green

Promoting eco-friendliness, renewability, and social responsibility is one thing – following your rhetoric is something else entirely. As a small local business, going green means more than just making a difference on a local scale. It means not polluting the local river, soil, and air. It also means being responsible towards locally-available resources and investing in the self-sufficiency of the local community.

After all, the pollution that you produce will stay localized, the waste that you produce will affect the surroundings, and the power grid that you strain may cause problems for the local community. This is why, by going green, you’re giving back. Some communities already have ambitious goals of going 95% green. This, however, requires everyone to get on board, and by going green yourself, you’ll be doing your part.

What’s in it for you? Well, as we’ve already mentioned, the moral and ethical advantages of giving back are quite obvious. Second, it’s quite common for a green option to be cheaper in the long run. Third, by labeling yourself as green, you’ll get the sympathy of some members of your target audience. Now, there’s no downside to this. People who care about the environment will appreciate it, while those who don’t won’t even pay attention to it. In other words, there’s no downside, no backlash to worry about.

Promote Other Businesses

Previously, we’ve talked about strengthening the local community and local economy. No matter how big and strong, one business won’t be able to do it on its own. So, you need to make a network of local businesses that are capable of mutual support and growth.

Moreover, this is quite good for the image of your brand. You see, aside from just earning some favors with these businesses, promoting others will make your business appear less self-centered. People who do business want to know that you’re more than just another corporate entity, and this is the way to send the message.

Also, keep in mind that you’re careful about whom you promote. Your recommendation is seen as both endorsement and a guarantee. If you support an enterprise that uses dubious business practices, you risk deceiving some of your clients. First of all, this is a bad outcome for you as someone who just wanted to help out. Second, it may ruin your reputation with them.

Organize Workshops and Courses

Getting involved directly is incredibly impactful, but it has another hidden perk, another reason why people do it. One of the things that even charitable people want is to feel like they’re giving back. Sure, donating money is sometimes of great help, but sometimes a direct involvement just feels more rewarding.

Organizing a workshop or a course is a logistical challenge. You need a venue, the right materials, and potentially even legal paperwork so that people can sign a waiver. Then, you need the right lecturer, as well as a sizable involvement in promoting the event. Sure, you’re giving people something of value for free. However, if they don’t know about this, it just won’t be as impactful. So, get on your social media, use WOM promotion, and use all the tools at your disposal.

Training course materials need to be prepared in advance, which means that you have a limited time to procure or print out what you need. Also, don’t underestimate the attendance. It’s better to have more than you need than less than you need. Keep in mind that these are valuable materials that won’t go to waste either way.

Wrap Up

The last thing you need to understand is the importance of having the right mindset. Sure, it’s good if your public image can benefit a bit from this, but it’s not why you’re doing it in the first place. Your main objective needs to be giving back. All the benefits that come from it should be considered extra. Anything else will quickly become a transparent publicity stunt. As a result, you won’t get any of your initial objectives fulfilled.

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