The Importance of Giving Back in Business
Today brands and businesses are more than a logo or a product. When your customers look at your business they take into account the personality of the business, how you source your goods, how you treat your employees, what you give back and so many other things. So for a local business it's incredibly important to be vocal and active in the things you're business represents within your local community.
Community involvement can be anything from sponsoring a local kids soccer team to donating proceeds to a cause you find worthwhile. For example, the general manager of the new Hopdoddy Burger Bar, volunteers through the Periwinkle Foundation, which offers programs that positively change the lives of children and families fighting cancer while being cared for at Texas Children's Hospital. (via CHRON)
There are numerous benefits of community involvement for a business including attracting more customers. In this day and age it's a competitive advantage for building emotional capital and creating a brand that people see as empathetic and caring, and in turn they will stand behind your business.
A Great Way to Network
Volunteering is a great way to build relationships and get to know the people around you. Not just their needs in terms of products or services but connecting with them on a deeper level; understanding what the community around you cares about. From a business perspective it boosts your visibility and demonstrates that your business is successful enough to take the time to give back, but also that you understand that by helping the community around you you're making it a better place. It also helps to put a face to your business, while this may not be an issue for regulars, for potential new customers it's great to meet and see the person who has put their life and soul into the business. Customers want to buy from a business they know, and being seen, especially giving back creates a sense of familiarity.
It’s not just customers who gain a positive perspective toward a business that gives back. Your employees do as well. Studies and surveys have found that employee morale and retention increased when a company was more engaged with the community. When employees feel like they are making a positive impact they reported being happier at their jobs. Volunteering helps employees develop leadership and communication skills as well as empathy for the people and environment around them.
You should always choose ways to give back that fit your mission statement and culture. And giving back should never be a task or a burden, it should be something that you and your employees are passionate about and believe will create a better city to live in. Now get out there and give back.
List of ways to give back in Austin, TX:
Keep Austin Beautiful - Through community cleanups, we are making Austin a better place to live and work. Keep Austin Beautiful identifies areas in need.
Boys & Girls Clubs – Provides a supportive after-school environment for children with limited resources. Very organized group volunteer sign-up, help makeover a room, put on a performance, run a game day and more.
Caritas of Austin – Serves veterans, refugees, women and children in crisis, often in homelessness. Check out their opportunity to serve food in their community kitchen.
Habitat for Humanity – The classic, offers opportunities for groups of 5 to 25 people to build a home alongside a family in need.
Foundation Communities – Provides affordable, supportive housing. Check out their opportunities with the supper club, “welcome home” baskets or any of their projects that help clients attain financial stability.
The Care Communities – Creates a volunteer family to support a client with AIDS/HIV or cancer. Form a care team for one of the organization’s clients.
El Buen Samaritano – Provides educational and supportive services to Latino families in need. Great opportunities here to work in the gardens or at seasonal events.
Texas Parks & Wildlife – Outdoor projects like cleaning up parks or being guides to indoor projects like helping botanists archive their findings.
Austin Pets Alive! – Helping People Help Pets
Dress for Success – More than just women’s suits, DFS also provides mentoring and coaching to help women achieve financial independence. Your small office can help mentor other women about career and budgets.
Austin Parks Foundation – A public/private partnership to keep our parks great; help clean them up and keep them thriving.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas – Helps provide a home-away-from-home for families who want to stay near children hospitalized. Adopt a family or cook and serve a meal for the entire house. It’s a well-oiled machine at RMHC.
BookSpring – Believes that no child should grow up without books. Help sort, label and deliver books to children in need.
Capital Area Food Bank – Your classic food sorting. It’s a winner for a reason. Check it out!
Inside Books Project – Help read through inmates’ requests for books and get them ready to send.