Incorporating Community Outreach into Your Practice

Michelle Grose, Communications Specialist
April 2, 2019

A spotlight is shining on companies who are becoming more socially conscious and responsible. Both consumers and employees are looking to align themselves with companies who make a positive impact in their communities and on society. According to a recent Nielsen study, 67 percent of employees prefer to work for socially responsible companies, and 55 percent of consumers will even pay more for products sold by companies committed to positive social impact.

Set yourself apart from the marketplace by implementing community outreach and volunteer efforts into your business practices.  According to Communities Foundation of Texas, the key cornerstones that every community needs to thrive are health, public safety and education, and it takes everyone in that community to contribute to its health and well-being.

Since many communities have a multitude of needs, finding a starting point can seem daunting, but here are some tips to help you add community outreach into your business practices.

Let employees drive it – Involve your employees and their families by finding out where your employees’ passions and interests. Conduct an employee survey and ask for suggestions on specific areas of focus and organizations of interest. Employees may already have existing relationships with non-profit organizations that you can leverage to get started quickly. 

Narrow your focus – If your community is large, your opportunities may abound-- so how do you narrow your focus? One place to start is to consider the time of year. Hold a school supply drive during the summer to fill backpacks for kids going to school in the fall. During the holidays, host a holiday party for an afterschool program or a senior living home. Also, keep an eye out for opportunities to respond to immediate issues affecting your community. For instance, if a natural disaster occurs, consider how your company can step in to help with cleanup or provide donations for those affected. When deciding which nonprofits to partner with, consider organizations with mission statements that relate to your industry or that align with your company values in a specific way. For instance, if you’re in the financial industry, consider working with a local school or after-school program to teach financial literacy classes.

Have fun with it – Community service is one of the best forms of teambuilding. When employees work on the same project together, natural comradery is built. Have a naturally competitive team? Inspire excitement through a competition to see which department can donate the most goods or finish packing the most meals in fastest time.

Share your story – As seen in the Nielson study above, both employees and clients want to align themselves with companies who are giving back to their communities. Make sure to share your story with these audiences once you’ve served with an organization, given donations or volunteered your time. Report out on the activity by sharing photos and focusing on any measured impact to your community. Set specific goals when conducting donation drives and volunteer events, and designate someone in your company to keep track and measure these goals. Not only is tracking and goal setting useful in completing your story, it inspires activity, achieves results and helps motivate employee involvement. If employees have an attainable target, they are more likely to increase involvement to reach it.

Let’s go the extra mile to make a difference in our communities.