How to Grow Business through Community Involvement

One of the most over-looked yet effective ways of marketing is to become involved with a cause through partnership with a local not-for-profit. Many small businesses do help with the dozens of requests they receive each year, and although doing so creates good-will, it seldom has the impact of aligning with a popular not-for-profit.

By “aligning”, I mean creating an impact which allows your company to almost co-brand itself with an organization which creates a huge amount of goodwill in your community. The goal is to have people think of your business when they hear the name of the not-for-profit. But creating this co-brand doesn’t happen by accident. It is the result of a well—defined marketing plan and the willingness to invest a significant amount of time.  The end result however could create a dramatic improvement in your business.

First, it’s absolutely essential to select the proper partner. Choosing the correct not-for-profit means a company known for a cause which is valued by the community and carried out by people who are honest and true to that cause. Therefore, it’s best to pick a cause which has had several years of success in serving the community. Next, this company should have some tie to art or framing. It doesn’t have to be dedicated to it, but if there is some type of link, it makes your association much more natural.

Find a local partner who is in business to benefit the community and set aside some time to help them. If you do it correctly, it will add value to your business in ways you never imagined.

So how do you create a bond with this type of company which is strong enough to help your company? It happens by establishing a very specific agreement with the not-for-profit about what you can provide for them and what you will need in return. It’s a concept which is very difficult for most small business owners to grasp. They feel that helping out someone should not be tied to a return. But in business, you must make a return on your time and money so creating a relationship which is mutually beneficial is critical. What type of involvement is best? Since a small business is limited by funds, the best way to become of value is to offer time and service- to actually contribute to the cause by physically supporting it. This strategy also offers a chance for your team to become involved and even allows the opportunity for customers who really want to support the not-for-profit to go beyond traditional gifts of money. Annual fundraisers are great, but don’t limit yourself to once per year involvement. To be fully co-branded, you’ll need to market your involvement throughout the year in newsletters, gallery signage and on your website.

In return, ask the same from the not-for-profit.  Ask them to promote your involvement to their email subscribers and website visitors. They should be very willing to do this because the stronger your company becomes, the more you can support their cause.

Promote the results of your efforts. Let customers and the public know how you serve the not-for-profit and exactly how your involvement has helped. Customers want to know that the businesses they support have a positive impact on the local community. They feel good about supporting companies which do positive things, so letting the public know the results of your efforts is something that is important.  When possible, report the results in terms of specific value to the not-for-profit. For example, it’s better to say that your company was able to provide art classes for 35 more people who attend this not-for-profit, than to say, you raised $8,000. Share the exact goals of your involvement and what that involvement has produced. Most importantly, credit the support of your clients for making this possible, and praise the organization for playing such a valuable role in the community.

As time goes on, find more and more ways to associate your company with this organization. Submit press releases which feature the relationship and how well you work together to improve the community. Advance the level of involvement with your team by offering them paid time to provide service at the organization the more everyone on your team sees the value of supporting this organization, the more everyone will benefit.

Running a small business is really challenging and marketing it is probably one of the most difficult tasks. Find a local partner who is in business to benefit the community and set aside some time to help them. If you do it correctly, it will add value to your business in ways you never imagined.

Cause Marketing

Harness the power of goodwill in retail by incorporating the benefits of Cause Marketing. Create publicity for your business, attract new clients, improve your image, and co-brand with a local organization for mutual benefit. This informative seminar is available for immediate download.

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