By Jennifer Goforth Gregory
Becoming a community business can often make the difference between thriving and shutting your doors. People will often show loyalty to businesses that care about the town they serve. Here are five community involvement ideas for your small business.
Sponsor a sports team
Sports, ranging from high school football teams to Little League baseball teams, can be the heart and soul of a community. They can also provide businesses with a great opportunity to support young athletes—as well as market to the crowd at sporting events. Sponsor one of the local recreational teams by buying their uniforms, or become a donor for one of the middle or high school teams.
Support a local charity
Donate a portion of your profits to a charity that is important to the community, or volunteer your time to an organization. Lindsey C. Holmes,
Lindsey C. Holmes, owner of LCH Business SM & Tech, volunteered to create campaigns that raised awareness of health care issues in New Jersey. One of her campaigns helped increase the HIV/AIDS testing rate by 200 percent.
You can show how much you care about your city's residents by helping out when a local child becomes sick, or a family loses its home to a fire, or by hosting fundraisers and donating money yourself. Many businesses find that being drop-off locations for charity collections, such as Toys for Tots or food bank drives, are another way to give back to the community.
Host community meetings
Local groups often need places to meet where they won’t have to pay for their meeting space. Offer your conference room or the back room of your store for groups to have their meetings. In addition to helping out the community, you'll establish a positive relationship with the members of that club or group, such that they'll think of you the next time they require your services.
Create a scholarship
Sending a child to college is a big expense for many families. Consider setting up a scholarship for a local student to attend a community college or university. Even a $500 scholarship can help a student pay for books or extra expenses. Many businesses set up scholarships specifically for students who plan to pursue a career in their industry, while others open the application up to all district high school seniors.
Become a local expert
If you're known as the “go-to source” on a specific topic in your community, people will be more likely to come to your business when they need your assistance. Write guest articles on your subject of expertise for local publications, volunteer to help local radio stations or news media when they cover stories on your topic, and think about assisting other businesses with issues that fall within your realm.