Customers will not buy your goods and services just because your business gives back to the community, even if it's a lot of money. Customers buy from you because your products and services meet their needs.

Nonetheless, if your company meets their needs and gives to their favorite charity, they'll buy from you, feel good about it, and keep coming back. 

Over the past few years, we’ve seen more large corporations commit to their core values by supporting causes such as domestic violence, human trafficking, climate change, and recently equality for marginalized communities with the Black Lives Matters movement. Marketing campaigns play themselves out during the Super Bowl and other prime media placements to let the world know that these companies are doing their part.

If you haven’t yet figured out how to adopt social purpose policies in alignment with your company’s core values, you can start by focusing on your local community.

In today's society, there are a variety of issues facing some citizens as not everyone has the same potential to succeed.

Some people need new job skills in a fast-evolving economy. Others need financial literacy and strategies for saving money to prepare for retirement. Some people face disease.

And some of our younger population seek equal STEAM education opportunities to prepare for future success. 

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Five Steps to Create a Meaningful Policy of Giving Back to Your Community 

As you seek the best way to incorporate social policies into your company’s plans, it’s possible to connect the value of what your selling to a cause in the community that you can improve. Here are a few ways to make it happen:

Step 1: Set Goals That Incorporate Social Impact

Non-profit organizations measure their success with the concept of a “triple-bottom line.” For-profit organizations are held to only one bottom line, and that is cash profits. The triple bottom line has goals for social, environmental and financial. 

When you're planning for success for your annual financial goals each year, add either a social and/or an environmental goal to your planning.

Find ways to make business decisions that incorporate the impact on all three as much as possible and see how your business will reap immediate results for your company and your community.

Step 2: Determine How Much You Can Invest in Giving Back 

Evaluate your company profits and determine if you’re able to match the 2 to 3 percent trend of other small businesses who have social giving policies in place. If this is a stretch, that’s ok, you can start with something simple and smaller until you’re able to figure out how increase it to where you want it to be.

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Step 3: Brainstorm Ways That Would Be Enjoyable to Give Back

Once you determine how much you plan to give, get creative and find ways to give that bring you joy.

One simple and effective way of giving back is to donate cash to high impact charities doing crucial work every day to improve the community. However, if you’d rather come up with your own way of spending your hard-earned dollars that’s an option too.

During the coronavirus pandemic, an organization in our neighborhood decided to put their money into helping a few families pay their rent after losing their jobs.

This money went straight to the recipients who they found through the local school instead of going through a more traditional path. Regardless of what works for you, do something that will make you smile when you rest at night. 

Step 4: Find Partners

If your ideas are bigger than a one-woman (or man) job, you may decide to find other leaders in the community to join you in bringing your social purpose dreams to life.

Charity events are popular and often run by a team of businesses partnering together to give back to their communities to support a specific cause.

Step 5: Just Do It

Commit to starting somewhere, even if you feel like you don’t know where. Here is a list of ideas to help you get something new in place as little as one day.

  • Donate goods or services that your company sells to its customers
  • Decide on a cash amount that your business can afford to donate to charities that are in alignment with your corporate values
  • Offer a company-matching program for employees who donate their own cash to charitable organizations 
  • Support local politicians that share the values you support for your community
  • Offer paid days off to your employees so they can volunteer for causes in which they believe.

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Small businesses are the lifeblood of the communities they serve for many reasons.

This relationship is reciprocal, because without the customers, there would be no business.

Find a way for your small business to start giving back to the community if you haven’t already and build on the policy every year. Celebrate your abundance by sharing with your neighbors in ways that lift you all. As the saying goes, high tides raise all boats.

Belinda DiGiambattista is a serial entrepreneur, business coach, and outsourced financial controller and can be found at www.belindadi.com.

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