If you’re looking to expand your small business through greater local engagement, there is no more effective technique than implementing a community service program. Here are four ways that demonstrate how a community service program will significantly benefit your business.

Employee Engagement and Retention

Engaged workers tend to have significantly higher productivity and less turnover than those who are not engaged. With more and more employees moving away from standard office work, it’s becoming more important than ever to connect with employees–especially deskless workers. In fact, The Employee App reports that only 56 percent of deskless workers feel engaged by their employers. Beyond improving internal communication in your company, businesses can turn to community service as a way of engaging employees.

Employees will take pride in the charitable work that they complete with their coworkers, they will inevitably become more engaged in the business and in their community. An active service program will also attract the best employees to your company, guaranteeing success in the future. There is a variety of reputable philanthropic and charitable arms designed to engage people of many diverse backgrounds and interests. The drive for diversity allows you to easily connect your employees with a variety of these meaningful mentorship roles.

Build Trust Within Your Community

As a small business owner, the local community is paramount to your success. By encouraging active community service within your business, you can build invaluable trust and credibility within your area. Customer perception has a big impact on a company’s brand. As consumers continue to become more selective about the values of the businesses they frequent, it is more important than ever to demonstrate your commitment to serving the community in which you operate.

Positive Name Recognition

Corporate responsibility is one of the biggest buzzwords of the last few years, and there is a good reason for this. Get involved in your community. Pick one charity or one civic organization to get involved with and assert your leadership. Implementing a community-service outreach program will increase the positive name recognition of your brand exponentially. Even something as small as sponsoring a local 5K or placing an advertisement in a high-school football program can drive customers to your place of business.

Demonstrate Core Values

No other vehicle is better at demonstrating the core values of your company to your potential and current customers than an effective community-service program. This is the ideal way to showcase what makes your company special and why others should support its overall mission. This will also give you a chance to show your expertise if you work with charities or events in the same niche. Real Estate Elevated regularly partners with habitat for humanity in order to show their building skill as well as their own knowledge.

Some Community Service Opportunities:

  • Encourage your employees to volunteer at their local libraries. Being a volunteer who assists library patrons check books in or out and who helps to keep the bookshelves tidy is a great way to give back to your community.
  • Retirement homes, such as Sunrise Senior Living, usually have their own volunteer and service programs that you can get your business involved with.
  • Mentoring opportunities for teens and kids are a popular way to provide community service. Organizations such as Big Brother Big Sister look for mentors from all walks of life who can take a child under their wing and help them navigate through the ups and downs that they face growing up.  
  • Organizations like Feeding America help to make a difference by providing soup kitchens, food pantries and meal programs to those who need them. It is run mostly by volunteers.
  • Host a silent auction or basket raffle. This event-based fundraising strategy is a lot of fun and can raise a lot of money for a good cause.
  • Ask local church congregations if they know of any service opportunities that are in your community. Invite your employees to participate in them or to seek out their own opportunities to serve.

There is no reason to not institute a community service program. The benefits are numerous, and there are virtually no drawbacks. Not only does your company stand to benefit immensely, but the community as a whole will reap the advantages of your good will and work.

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I am a best-selling author, a keynote speaker, award-winning coach, and the founder of The Academy of Entrepreneurial Excellence. I coach leadership high-performance habits to health and fitness professionals that get results for you and your clients.