Getting involved in local neighborhoods and organizations presents a myriad of win-win solutions for both your business and your community. Savvy business owners understand that there are limitless benefits to maintaining an active and charitable presence in their community. Let’s take a look at some examples of community involvement that your company can use to maintain a local presence.

Charitable Marketing

Whether you are just starting a new business or need to revamp your marketing efforts, look for opportunities to align your business with local events or organizations to help you promote your business. Using your business to sponsor a charitable event, for example, presents networking opportunities, helps you promote your products or services, all while building trust within the community.

It helps to know that customers feel better about aligning themselves with businesses that are doing charitable work. Look for charities in your area that can help expose your business to a larger segment of your targeted market. For example, if you own a restaurant or catering business, host a family dinner night for local schools or provide food and refreshments for school festivals. During the event, you can also hand out coupons to show your appreciation for the school’s support and to ensure repeat business. To maintain a continued, offer to advertise in the school’s monthly newsletter.

You can also choose to donate money directly to a charity or host an event and donate a portion of the proceeds to the charity of your choice. Consider choosing organizations and causes that have special meaning to you. Sit on the advisory board and attend meetings to help you get more involved with the cause and take the opportunity to network and expand your market. Even if your participation is solely for charitable reasons, you should still use the opportunity to promote your business.

Here are some ways to use charitable marketing to maximize your exposure in the community:

  • Send press releases every time you make a donation, sponsor an event, or hold a fundraiser for a local charity.
  • Mention your charitable activities in your newsletters, brochures, and advertisements.
  • In turn, help publicize your chosen charities and be a resource where people can get more information or make donations to the organizations you are involved with.

Here are some other tips to help your company get involved in the community:

  • Tell customers your unique story. Customers like to know about the people behind the business and hear the unique story about how the business started. Write your story and have it posted where customers can see it – on the backs of brochures, menus, or products. It helps them feel connected to you and your business.
  • Create a unique business model that makes your business stand apart from the competition. For example, if you commit to donate a portion of all proceeds to a local charity, customers will feel good about choosing your business over others because they will feel like they are contributing to that cause.
  • Deliver a quality product or service. Keep in mind that no amount of community service will guarantee repeat business or increased sales if you are not providing the best quality service or product.
  • Promise excellent customer service. Go beyond the standards of good service and what customers expect. Always promise to replace products or refund services if the customer is not satisfied. Surprise customers with freebies or great discounts.
  • Get involved with the local Chamber of Commerce, and other high-profile organizations that will help you connect with other businesses. Acquire as many contacts as you can, gathering business cards at every meeting or event, and immediately do follow ups. If your new contacts are not in need of your products or services, feel free to ask for referrals for new customers. That’s why businesses join those types of organizations.
  • Volunteer! For many organizations, your time is just as valuable as your monetary donations. Get involved in any way you can and get to know the people who are part of the organization and the people who support the cause. Your involvement will show your commitment to giving back and will help you establish your business as one that people in the community can trust.

Small businesses rely on the support of the people in their community. Show the people in the community that you appreciate their support of your small business by getting involved and looking for opportunities to give back. Staying actively involved with local charities and organizations will also help you build long-lasting relationships, promote your business, and attract new customers.