In a way, businesses are like small communities. They rely on the contributions of individuals to build and improve a collective, creating better goods and services for everyone involved. But companies are also part of greater communities as well— both locally and globally. Since businesses draw on those communities to grow, it only makes sense that they have a responsibility to give back in return.
So how exactly can a company contribute to its community? Before we answer that, we have to understand why community involvement is important.
Let’s be honest: community service can feel good! Even though it’s an act done for someone else, it can boost our mood tremendously.
One Gallup study found that people who volunteer to serve communities are significantly happier than those who do not. In the survey, those that volunteered reported an average Well-Being Index score of 70 (out of 100) while those that did not volunteer reported an average score of 58.5.
There could be several reasons for this: from impacting one’s personal growth to developing new perspectives. It can make someone see their own privilege, or understand their connection to the greater good. It simply feels good to help others.
Culture makes the personality of a company, and community involvement makes culture. Although perks like gaming rooms and happy hours make a company look more attractive, community involvement is what brings out an employee’s passion at work, provides tension relief, and even improves leadership skills. In short, volunteerism can genuinely engage an employee.
The science backs it up too. Deloitte published a study in 2017 that found that employees who volunteer their time tend to be “proud, loyal and satisfied employees” compared to those that never volunteer. Community work can make the difference between a business focused on money, and a business with greater intentions.
It’s not just the employees who benefit, the whole company does as well. Just as community involvement leads to increased employee participation and retention, it can also boost customer loyalty and attract talent.
Millennials, a generation with over 92 million individuals, are leading the trend. More so than previous generations, millennials embrace authenticity, transparency, and meaning from a company. In fact, one Nielsen report shows that 73% of millennials would spend more on socially conscious and sustainable brands— roughly 10% higher than the average respondent.
How to Start Community Involvement At Work
Interested in getting your company to start giving back to the community? Great! Here’s how you can get started.
First ask yourself a few questions: what passions match your values? What problems do you notice in your own community, both locally and globally? Understand what drives meaningful change within your community.
If it helps, you may want to create a sub-committee within your company to brainstorm different community involvement ideas. Ask for ideas, speak with equally passionate volunteers, and find common ground about how your company can leverage its skills and capabilities to help out.
Here are a few community involvement ideas:
– Donating to a local charity
– Volunteering at a soup kitchen or food pantry
– Cleaning up a park district
– Fundraising for a cause
– Mentoring at-risk youth
– Organize a clothes drive for donation
– Plant flowers or trees in public areas
– Participate in a community event
These are just ideas— feel free to add or change them depending on what your company wishes to do! The important part is getting out there and using your time to help someone else.
Community involvement often seems like a daunting task, especially with so many other projects to finish at work. But when you realize the good it spreads, the positivity it generates within the company, and the impact you can create in the community, then volunteering becomes a collective responsibility.