Being a Good Community Citizen

2/13/2006

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It is not uncommon for large corporations to believe in the value of being socially responsible. They have the resources, the employee base and the size to truly have an impact on the health of society.

Small businesses can have an impact, too, though on a smaller scale. By being a good community citizen, they can offer important support to those who live and work within the communities where the business has a presence.

If you own or manage a small business, it is a win-win situation. In addition to improving the quality of life for your customers and their families, being active in community activities and causes will also benefit your business. Potential advantages include:

  • Visibility for your business. Increased visibility within the community can be particularly helpful to a small business, which may lack a huge advertising budget.
  • Positive image. Being a good citizen helps foster positive feelings about your business among those who live and work in the community, expanding your potential customer base.
  • Recruitment tool. It will be easier to attract quality employees if your business displays the right values and a commitment to the community that workers can respect.
  • Stronger team. Participating together in community causes can improve cohesiveness among your employees and managers.
  • More satisfied employees. Allowing your employees to be involved directly on behalf of a community activity or cause can enhance their work experience. It can increase their pride in being affiliated with a business that cares about the health of its community.
  • Contacts with other businesses. Being active in community activities will give you, your managers and your employees the opportunity to meet and work with people from other companies. This can lead to valuable contacts with potential customers, suppliers and strategic partners.

When deciding which community activities, projects or causes to support, either through a donation of staff time or a financial contribution, take time to do some research. Make sure you select a project or cause that is aligned with the values your business stands for. Also, check that the organization is well-run, adheres to ethical financial and operating standards and provides programs in accordance with its mission that are of benefit to the community.

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