Adding social and community good into your business model

August 30 2017

Author: Jeffrey Wisard

Be a business do-gooder and grow your business at the same time

There are several ways to help ensure that your business is successful – location, pricing, product offerings, staff, hours, website and a lot more. As many small business owners know, all of these take time and testing to figure out the best mix.

However, there is one area that may have a bigger impact on your business than you’d imagine: Community engagement and social good.

Why is it a good idea for a business to be involved in the community?

Community engagement and social good can be defined as offering a service or creating an event that helps the surrounding neighborhood that your business is in. Taping into neighborhood pride and engaging with the community can not only help those around you, but also your bottom line.

How can your business positively engage with the community near you? Here are 5 ideas to get you started:

1. Host a charity event

Host an event where a percentage of your sales is donated to a featured charity. You’ll see this quite often in the food industry, where restaurants will donate 10% of their sales for the night to a charity of their choice. An added bonus: The featured charity will give your business all sorts of email and social media praise, helping drive new customers to your business.

2. Buy a drink/meal/round up for…

Instead of buying that next round of drinks for friends or getting that extra appetizer, give your customers the option of “buying one” for a charity instead. The money from the sales would then be donated to the participating organization. Likewise, you can add a section at the end of a customer’s receipt to “round up the total,” with the value going to a featured charity. This idea is simple to run and encourages customers to pay it forward by supporting local community groups.

3. Get artsy

Some businesses better their local community using art, such as a “buy a brick” campaign to build a sidewalk or walkway. Another great idea is to commission a local artist to paint a neighborhood specific mural to beautify the outside or inside of your business. You can also offer customers a chance to “buy a stroke” to help fund the project and raise money for a local nonprofit. Not only are you supporting a local artist and charity, but you’re also adding creative value to the neighborhood. Further, empowering your customers to help with the creation process builds a sense of ownership and pride.

4. Host an elected official meet and greet 

Communities love to know what’s happening on the local, city and state level. From new zoning regulations to repaving sidewalks, your customers want to recognize what’s going on in their city. So why not increase foot traffic and facilitate community dialogue by hosting an elected official meet and greet? By providing a meeting space, you’ll have a chance to meet your neighbors and local leaders, plus add value to your community.

5. Host a middle or high school “pop up” fundraising night

Chances are you have a school within a few miles of your establishment. Why not reach out to the school to host a local “pop-up” for the students? The students could feature new business ideas their creating, projects that they’re working on and events they’re trying to attend. Attendees and customers can then purchase items to support the school and the students. This helps with entrepreneurism, public speaking, civic engagement and gets people into your shop.

Have some other ideas that are working for your business? Let us know your social and community good business ideas by leaving a comment, or share them on Twitter using #socialgoodidea.