Many small businesses struggle with the never-ending stream of requests from every charity, pony club, school fete and footy team. But what does it mean for a business to be a good corporate citizen? One definition I found online refers to the “the commitment of a business to contribute to sustainable economic development, working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve their quality of life”.
For small businesses this might sound like a nice thought but forking out cash and product donations can impact your profit margin and there is often very little gain. Here’s three things you should do to be good corporate citizen:
Get it right on the inside. There’s nothing more contradictory than a business that supports community groups and charities but treats its employees badly. Invest in your team morale and employee benefits.
Make a real connection: Don’t just hand over cash and never speak to the charity again. Look for ways to partner with community groups and organisations, look for ways to really get involved in the way they’re spending your money. Getting some media coverage is great, but developing a relationship with the group you are supporting and its members can be emotionally and financially rewarding for you and your business.
Align your contributions to your values. One of our values is “understanding”. When we’ve been listening to our clients, especially business owners and farmers, we could sense a real strain on them. So this month we ran a “Be your best you” breakfast and our “the Farmer Wants a Life” seminars centred on dealing with stress, keeping positive and being resilient. We know that we can give our clients all the best accounting, financial and business advice, but by supporting their well-being as a person, we develop a real connection with our clients and our community. Connections create opportunities.