Giving back by donating your time and expertise to your community and to your industry can be beneficial for many reasons. Not only can volunteering as a small business owner help your community and create a shared sense of achievement, but giving back can also help your business grow.
While I wouldn’t recommend volunteering solely for the business benefits, there are a few that are indisputable. Here are a few of the areas where you may see value from your efforts to do good.
You can develop new relationships and strengthen existing ones.
Getting out there and volunteering in your community puts you in a great position to meet new people who you may not otherwise meet. These relationships are not only good for networking, but they also help you to create a group of people to consult with outside of your immediate business network.
Being active in your community as a volunteer also gives you a chance to continue to collaborate with colleagues you've worked with before. Teaming up for a greater good is a powerful way to strengthen bonds and solidify relationships.
Giving back can broaden your experience.
Even if you donate time doing the same type of work you do everyday, volunteering provides an opportunity to work on something new with new people in a new place. You get to see more and experience more, and you never know where you might learn a new skill, discover a new way to do something, or expand your knowledge in some other valuable way.
Volunteering provides indirect marketing exposure.
Sometimes the best marketing is marketing that happens naturally. This can happen when you are focused on a task, especially one that involves collaboration and teamwork. While you wouldn't be using a volunteer situation to solicit new customers, it is natural for discussion about what you do in business to come up during a volunteer opportunity.
The people you're working side-by-side with may not be your ideal customers, but they may remember you and your business the next time they interact with someone who may need exactly what you offer.
Doing good is good for your reputation.
If you work for yourself, everything you do on and off the job impacts your business reputation. Giving back is one way to position yourself in a good light. When you spend time and effort for the benefit of others, you are telling clients, potential clients and colleagues that you are empathetic to those around you. That kind of positive action tends to stick with people and it can strengthen your reputation over the long term.
Giving to others makes you more well-rounded.
Volunteering makes you more well-rounded as a person and a well-rounded business owner. When you volunteer for the right reasons (and realize all of the benefits listed here are really just peripheral to the main purpose of giving back), you have an opportunity to improve many different areas of your life.
Personal growth can not only make you a better, more fulfilled person, but it can help you identify more productive goals in your business and ultimately become more successful.
It doesn't have to take a tremendous amount of time or energy, yet giving back can be one of the best things you can do to strengthen the foundation of your small business. And it may even be something you enjoy and get a great deal of personal satisfaction from doing. Start by using this list of volunteer work options to look for an opportunity to volunteer your unique skills and experience today.