3 Easy Ways Businesses Can (and Should!) Support Their Community
Guest Blog Writer, Dr. Alexander Sobel, June 23, 2018
We hear a lot about the importance of supporting local businesses to help communities thrive. As a business owner in Bellevue, I wholeheartedly appreciate the “buy local” movement and depend on our community to keep my practice, and my livelihood, going strong.
But just as we depend on the community to support our businesses, I believe businesses have a duty give back to the community in whatever capacity they can. Supporting local charities, participating in community events, and volunteering time and resources fosters a healthier, happier neighborhood environment. After all, this is the place your business—and likely your family—calls home. Making an effort to connect locally also builds goodwill that can translate to more paying customers.
Supporting your community is doable no matter how small or fledgling your business is now
If you’re like my staff and me, you really want to give back. In fact, you want to help every community program, non-profit, or adorable girl scout who asks for your support. However, if you’re a small entity or just getting your business off the ground, you might not feel you can do much to make a difference. You can. Here are a few ideas to give back in meaningful ways, while staying within your budget.
Partner with a non-profit for a fundraiser or donation drive
Partnering with a local non-profit that aligns with your personal and business philosophy can be a highly effective way to raise money for that organization and strengthen your company’s reputation. For example, you might run a customer special with a portion of proceeds going towards your partner organization—we recently did this at Anderson Sobel Cosmetic, partnering with Treehouse. We offered popular treatments at a reduced price, and donated a portion of revenue from these treatments directly to Treehouse. To maximize impact for Treehouse, we set up a donation drive in our office and promoted the fundraiser and Treehouse’s mission on our website and social media.
Volunteer for local events as a group
Sending in a check may be the easier solution, but sharing time with organizations who are in great need of manpower can often be the more effective way to make a difference for the community as well build a good reputation for your company—and volunteering may even help you feel better emotionally and physically.
Get the whole staff involved. Put together a team to serve a monthly community dinner for Imagine Housing, or volunteer as a group for a Club Maintenance Project at the Bellevue Boys & Girls Club. You’ll not only be able to do more for the organization, but your staff will have a great teambuilding experience that boosts morale, leading to more effective bonding and communication.
Start a scholarship program in your company’s name
One of the best ways to empower and bolster a community is to support educational opportunities. A scholarship doesn't have to be a high dollar amount to make a big impact for a student in need. When we started the WISE Scholarship in 2017, we were overwhelmed by the response from the community—plus it was highly rewarding to tell a local student that she won a scholarship! There are also no rules saying who or what type of learning the scholarship has to be for; anything that you see a genuine need for and that you are passionate about is valid.
Never underestimate your ability to make a positive difference
Compared to individuals, even small businesses have greater bandwidth to influence positive change—you likely have a website, social media pages, and physical premises, all which can be used to spread the word about local events or charities. Moreover, incorporating philanthropy into your business plan will pay off in the long run in the form of more customers and a more compassionate company culture. I encourage you to make a commitment to your community, whether you implement one of the above ideas or come up with your own way of giving back.
About the Author
Dr. Alexander Sobel is the owner of Anderson Sobel Cosmetic Surgery and President of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. He is an award-winning, triple board certified surgeon in general cosmetic surgery, cosmetic facial surgery, and otolaryngology, and is widely known for his commitment to the highest standards of safety and compassionate patient-centered care.
Anderson Sobel Cosmetic Surgery
1632 116th Ave NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
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