Thanks to fellow Allbusiness.com blogger Chuck McKay, I exceeded my $1000 goal for my American Cancer Society´s Relay For Life team. (Even though I´m over my individual goal, you can still help fight cancer by clicking on the "My Relay Team" link to your right.)
Is your business active in your community? "Yea, Glenn," you´re thinking, "I know businesses should support their community, but I´ve got cash flow problems and everybody and his kid ask me to support their band/scouts/disease/school/worthy cause."
You´re exactly right. No business, large or small, can support every worthy cause. But your employees and you can pick and choose those in which you are all interested. You can also set up a few simple policies that will help you manage the rest. (E-mail me and I´ll give you some specifics.)
Consider adopting two, three, or four causes depending on the size of your firm. Size refers to employees, not amount of cash flow. Perhaps you have an employee or family member impacted by a disease such as cancer, diabetes, or muscular dystrophy.
Perhaps your business lends itself to a certain cause. For example, bookstores equate with literacy, builders with Habitat for Humanity.
Being active in your community raises your visibility. So your business only has eight employees. Form a Relay For Life team, encourage employees to invite their families to be on the team and let them fund raise from their friends. You can make a small contribution from your business to either support the team, or be a sponsor of the event. Spring for t-shirts with your name on it that will make your team stand out. When employees participate as a group this nearly always has a positive impact on employee morale. I´ve said it before: "Happy employees create happy customers."
Want something a little less labor intensive that will drive business to your door? Consider giving a portion of one day´s profits to a particular cause. Craig O"s Pizza and Pastaria has school nights where, if you come in on a certain Tuesday, a portion of the profit goes to support that school. Last time I checked, they were supporting four or five schools that way. The PTA´s provided them with free word-of-mouth (and newsletter) advertising. Baja Fresh and Chick Fil A restaurants also have similar programs. This drives customer traffic to their stores.
Bottom line: Being involved in your community strengthens your community, raises your employee morale, increases your firm´s visibility and can increase traffic to your business. Oh, by the way, you just might save someone’s life or prevent needless suffering.
Don´t just stand there-get involved!
Spread the word: The American Cancer Society is always in need of volunteers. We´re looking for Relay For Life teams, drivers to drive cancer patients to treatment centers, people with marketing experience and so much more. Go online and volunteer.