Creating a Community Giving Strategy for your Small Business

Creating a Community Giving Strategy for your Small Business

Team seedership
July 01, 2020

Today, let’s talk about superheroes and communities. When we say superheroes, what are some of the things that come to your mind? For us, the shining and classic example of the all-American superhero is Superman. Superman uses his supernatural powers and abilities to protect the city of Metropolis and the citizens within it. There are other classic superhero and community pairings like Batman and Gotham City, Aquaman and Atlantis, Spider-Man and New York City...the list goes on.

This year we've seen the real-life superheroes in our communities across the nation as physicians, nurses, hospital workers, and first responders put themselves in the front lines to help those with COVID-19 and keeping rest of us safe. They've been joined to serve along with essential workers including sanitation, supermarket, transportation workers and all people who we rely on to keep things running. They have been joined by small business owners who are in it with their community. We’ve seen so many small businesses adapt to the needs of their communities and are ready to serve in any way they can.

Small businesses are deeply committed to their communities. We knew this but data from our recent 2020 Spring Into Kindness Small Business Study sealed the deal for us. And what drives this close-knit and interdependent relationships between small businesses like yours and your community? It’s the desire, gratitude and appreciation to support those who nurtured their dream of owning a business come true. Here are some of the study highlights:

  • 99% of small businesses have given back to their communities within the past year.
  • 97% of small businesses prefer to give to local causes and organizations.
  • More than two-thirds (70%) gave consistently throughout the year, with 87% asked to donate at least once a month.

Needless to say, small businesses selflessly give back to their communities on an on-going basis, often with little fanfare or recognition. Being invisible about the good you do really only works for superheroes, though. If you are a small business engaged with your community, making what you give back visible to customers and community can help you achieve greater impact on your community commitment and business goals.

The facts are more than three-quarters of American consumers believe that businesses need to do their part in making a positive impact on society. Further, nine in ten American consumers want to know how businesses are supporting charitable causes. These stats make it ever more important that your small business community-giving story (the experiences and activities your business participates in with your community) are a visible part of your online and in-store image.

The work you do to give back throughout the year makes a difference and shows you care. Leveraging this trust and hope your community has in your business can lead to increased business opportunities and growth. Obviously, based on how often small businesses are asked to give back, your community looks to you as a source of kindness and charity. Being as your business is so engaged with giving back, do you know if your business has a community giving strategy in place?

Creating your small business community giving strategy helps you focus on causes where you can have the greatest impact over time and that best aligns with your expertise, purpose and values. So, if your business is one of the vast majority of small businesses out there giving back and you want to focus your efforts in one place, here are a few steps on how to craft your community giving strategy for long-term growth and kindness.

Steps to Creating Your Small Business Community Giving Strategy

1. Finding Your Focus

The first step towards creating your community giving strategy is defining what causes your business is advocating for. For some small businesses that offer niche goods and services, aligning your cause with your business’ purpose makes sense, and will do more to engage your employees and customers in your charitable work as well.

So for example, if you run a local pet supply store, focusing your giving on helping shelter or rescue animals is more congruent with your business purpose than donating medical supplies for humanitarian relief. Also, if your business is niche, your customers most likely look up to you as an expert in your field. When they see you and your business apply your areas of expertise for a cause that benefits your community, they will be more likely to recommend your business to other consumers who need your expert goods or services.

2. Creating Objectives

The purpose of a strategy is to set up a road map that helps you achieve your goals and objectives. Discovering which way to best approach your goals and objectives is to first sit down and figure out what you are trying to accomplish. Now, you may have an idea of what your business goals are on a quarterly basis. Setting up your community giving strategy is similar to your sales, marketing, and business strategies can help you coordinate these business objectives with your charitable giving objectives.

Having goals and objectives in place, you can strategize your most optimal path to success using the resources you have available. However, when setting your charitable giving goals, consider making them actionable, measurable, and obtainable so you can keep yourself on track for success and revise your strategy if you are not making the progress you want to see.

3. Constructing Long-Term Plans

Extending your good for as long as possible not only amplifies your cause, but it also keeps your charitable actions top-of-mind when it's time for customers to make a purchase. In order to keep your momentum going, coming up with long-term plans and objectives for future campaigns is as important as completing a current campaign.

So when you are coming up with current campaigns, think about how you will continue to promote it and spread awareness once the campaign comes to an end. As much as you worked to promote your charitable campaign in your store, on your website, or on your social media accounts, having a plan to continue to share the outcomes of your efforts on these platforms can help increase the awareness around your cause and by extension, awareness of your small business.

Not only that, your customers are looking to see how you are using their business to make a difference in the community. By showing them the outcomes of your campaigns, you are showing them that their support of your business and campaign made success possible.

4. Making Your Community Giving Strategy Visible

The seedership platform was created to help you make the good you do with your community commitment strategy top-of-mind and easy to find for your customers so that your business and community can grow in tandem. Our platform can help you visualize and track all the community stories you have created through your commitment to community strategy. You can then export social media posts and infographics for your customers and clients on your websites, social media channels, emails, or wherever else you connect.

Making your business cause a visible part of your brand identity can help make the good you do for the community feel more authentic and in alignment with your business goals. Also, keep in mind, a big chunk of your customers, especially Millennials and GenZ, are researching your business and looking for the ways your business is making a difference in society. With a digital storytelling platform like seedership, you can easily make the community stories you create with your community commitment strategy visible so you can focus on bigger-picture objectives.

5. Knowing When to Say No

Your business does a ton of good for your community, and with a well thought out community giving strategy in place and running, you will most likely attract the attention of all sorts of causes and nonprofits needing support. When you know what your areas of focus are and what objectives you are trying to achieve with your strategy, it's easier to say no to causes that aren’t a part of your community giving strategy.

Having a strategy, set areas of focus, and goals in place makes it easier to determine who and where to give. There are so many great causes it can be easy to want to support them all, but with a strategy, it helps you stay focused. It also helps your community and local nonprofits understand how to best approach you and if their asks align with their needs.

Along with helping create awareness amongst your customers and community, by sharing your community stories and providing transparency into your commitment to community strategy, it shows nonprofits and other causes that come to you for support where your charitable giving focuses are. When asked to give, you can provide them with a full view of the causes that matter to you and your customers. If their cause doesn’t align with your charitable giving goals it’s easier to explain why you cannot give at the time they are requesting. We know that small businesses have huge hearts, and are essential for community health and growth, but sometimes the impact and difference you make in your community can get diluted if you don’t stick to your community giving strategy.

Let seedership Help Bring Your Community Giving Strategy to Life

When you have a well-thought-out community commitment strategy in place, the good you do for your community can provide many positive business and marketing outcomes on top of making a real difference in your neighborhood. The ways that you give back and help support your community is important and we want to make it easier for you to focus on growing your business and community.

Our digital storytelling platform was designed to help you do just that! You can track, measure, and share your charitable giving activities and provide your customers with transparency into every dollar, minute, or thing you give back. We know that owning and running your business while committing to making a difference in your community leaves you with very little time. With seedership you don’t have to worry about the logistics of tracking and sharing the good you do, because we make it possible with a few keystrokes and clicks.
Start making the most of your commitment to community strategy with seedership! Start your free 30-day trial today.

Get connected

Subscribe to our newsletter and get resources sent to your inbox. Select topics of interest.

Get connected