Five Best Ways to Give Back to the Community
For me being the leader of my company and being a leader in the community went hand in hand, and for over 24 years I walked my talk. I owned and operated a chain of tire and auto centers in Illinois and Iowa. We operated every day with three things in mind: 1) Provide ridiculously great service, 2) Make a fair profit, 3) Give back to the communities we operated in. We gave in various ways and over the years I learned a lot about this topic and how to make it more and more impactful.
One thing I stress is that the quantity is not as important as the consistency. Giving should be a part of your strategy and way of life. Everyone or every company has a different capacity in what they can give financially, but if you make it priority you will always find a way. In the beginning, I felt the best I could do was write checks or donate products or services. I did this consistently for 24 years, but toward the end of my business career I needed something more.
I needed to not only impact the community by giving to local charities, but also create an event that would impact the community in a fun way. I wanted an event that the community would benefit from and that would also make money for local charities. In my case I created the CarX Crazy K. A 5K run containing 22 obstacles, along with various bands and food. A giant party and annual event that the entire community could look forward to.
Here are a few tips I learned along the way.
1. Incorporate this into your company culture
Great companies have great missions that extend beyond profits. When your company gives back, you’re creating a buzz and purpose to what you’re doing. This will lead to great company moral and pride. There is no way to truly measure this, but I can assure you it is worth it.
2. Find creative alternatives
Golf outings and silent auctions are fine, but pushing yourself to get creative with giving back is even better. You may find ways to give that not only help financially but improve the very fabric of the community that you live in.
3. Don’t say yes to everything
Although it’s great to be able to be part of everything and anything, it’s better to be focused on something you care about and do it at the highest level. Giving in a way that suits you will not only make you more connected to it, but it will also be more impactful.
4. Promote your business
There is nothing wrong with leveraging your charitable giving initiatives. Consumers prefer to support a business that gives back to the community rather than one that does not. While making it public may seem self-serving, remember that if you are successful you are more likely to give so use that to your benefit. I always believed it was better for consumers to support my business rather than my competitors because they knew I would give back.
5. Give time
Writing checks, especially for those that can afford to, makes an incredible impact to the community, but not all can give money so instead give time. Time is our most limited resource and when we choose to give some of it away we are doing something that will come back to us in so many ways.