When running a business, your attention will typically stay focused on daily operations. If you have a favorite charity or organization, you might feel torn about taking your time away from the company to devote to volunteerism, especially when it’s a solo effort. If you involve your customers in your favorite cause, you can accomplish more for the organization and possibly strengthen your company’s image.

Advertise the organization

If there’s a charitable organization your company supports, there’s nothing wrong with putting up some of their signage or literature in your offices. In fact, this is perhaps the lowest pressure way to involve your customers in your charitable efforts. Sometimes, getting a charity’s name out in front of people is all it takes to peak their interest about what the organization does. If the charity’s name is in front of customers enough, they may even visit their website to learn more about how they can help.

Collect donations

Regardless of what organization you select, they will always need donations – monetary or supplies – to keep their doors open. While holding donation drives or competitions among employees can make a difference, you can accomplish more when you let your customers in on it. This gives you a larger pool to pull from.

For instance, let’s say your company is partnering with a local food bank. Most food banks may tell you cash donations are preferred to food donations (because they need fewer people to collect, sort and distribute the food items than if they purchased food themselves), food donations are always welcome. Putting food collection boxes in your lobby and talking about the food drive is a subtle way to involve your customers.

If you want to take it a step further, you can also offer coupons, discounts or other incentives to any customer making a donation.

Organize volunteers

One thing many people forget is that it takes more than money to keep a charity running. It takes manpower. While you and your employees can certainly volunteer, there’s no reason not to involve your customers.

Let’s say you want to help sort food at the food bank’s warehouse in addition to hosting a food drive. You may have customers who are unable to contribute their money, but are more than willing to donate a few hours of their time. The more able bodies you can get to the charity, the better.

Of course, volunteering with your customers has an added bonus. Not only do they see that you care about more than the next sale, they get to see what you’re like out of the office. While you may not be talking shop during the volunteer time, it’s a perfect opportunity to strengthen your relationships with customers you may otherwise not get any face time with. Who knows? This may just be the reason your customers begin referring your company to others.

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