Community Service: The Best Investment

Community Service: The Best Investment

Why is community involvement important?

Community involvement can involve volunteering, but it’s so much more than that. Being involved in things like a charity, rotary club, chamber of commerce and economic development council events, having a seat on a board for a local non-profit is all considered community involvement. Then there are special events that bring people together, like building a playhouse to benefit a fundraiser, helping to renovate a home for a veteran, or helping stock a soup kitchen down the road from your office. People can volunteer as mentors and read to hospital-bound children in the community, get active in their local church with things like worship leading and teaching Sunday school, and take on active roles with industry-related groups.

What are the benefits of community involvement?

We know that any kind of involvement in our community can lead to long-lasting partnerships. Working together with others in any capacity for a cause larger than ourselves allows for deeper relationships to form than just from networking alone. Helping others excel brings value to the community and brings more growth opportunities for everyone. Working toward a goal bigger than one individual also builds personal character. Working to become involved in the community allows people to reflect on themselves and get better along the way.

We all care deeply about the future of our families, workplace, city, and community. What better way to show it than to share your passions and personal skills? Volunteering is the more productive way to put all your skills to good use. Becoming involved in the community allows access to a new group of people, and training and educational programs for personal development, particularly through industry groups and events. Volunteering also brings opportunities for developing leadership skills.

How does volunteering benefit the community? Volunteering or community service provides you with a perfect opportunity to become closer to the community you live in. Community service broadens horizons by helps people understand the needs of society and the inner workings of a community. Reading or hearing about community issues is not quite the same as getting personally involved, the energy expended brings you closer to families and individuals in need, gifting firsthand experience and understanding of community problems.

How does community outreach help a person’s career?

When you are thinking of changing or advancing your career, community service is a great way to help you gain professional experience and skills. One of the community service benefits is that it provides you with the chance to improve skills important for a workplace, such as communication and teamwork, organizational skills, problem-solving, planning, and task management. People can try out an attractive career through volunteering before leaping to a long-term commitment.

It’s always been the case that the easiest way to make friends is through activities you perform together. Not only are you helping others in need, but you can meet other volunteers. This benefit of community service is particularly important if you are new in an area. Is there a better way to meet your neighbors and show them how eager you are to improve your community’s way of life than working on a goal? There is also an opportunity to invite existing friends to do community service with you and further strengthen new relationships and have fun at the same time.

Introverts sometimes have problems meeting people and making friends. Volunteering is a great way to help people step out of their comfort zone as it offers lots of opportunities to meet and work with various people. Volunteering is a valuable experience for improving and practicing how to socialize in diverse surroundings. Students that do community service to get work-related knowledge and skills increase their chances of getting a job since their community involvement creates good references for potential employers.

From office work and answering emails and phone calls, through helping out in a store and raising funds through awareness, to building safe homes for whole families – if everyone in the community cares to give of their time, everyone benefits.

How does community involvement help people’s businesses?

There are essentially no drawbacks of participating in community involvement. If you own a business the rewards of volunteering are always worthwhile.

There are many business benefits to giving back to the community:

Increasing awareness of your brand: Brand awareness refers to how familiar customers are with your business. For instance, if someone says they need something Xeroxed, you know they’re referring to copies. That’s because Xerox has developed great brand awareness.
While brand awareness is vital for all businesses, it’s particularly important for startups. If people aren’t aware of your business, they probably won’t buy from it.
When employees support the community, people learn about your business. For example, let’s say your dentistry business hosts a fundraising event and hundreds of community people attend. Participants see and hear a company’s name. Then, an attendee speaks to their friend who needs a dentist, suddenly your business recommended to their friend because they respect your company values.

Cultivating trust in your business: Customers won’t make purchases from your business unless they have trust. In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace if a customer doesn’t have a reason to trust your brand, they may buy from someone else.
The best way to cultivate trust in a community? Provide exceptional customer service, respond to customer reviews, and have a brand people can believe in through community involvement. If you dedicate your resources to the community, you position your business as an organization that values causes outside of just making money.

If customers meet your employees at volunteer events or read about your philanthropic efforts on the internet, they’ll likely trust you. Once you establish trust, your chances of growing your business become very high because people will have the motivation to turn to your brand instead of a competitor.

Creating a positive culture: Culture is the character of business, it’s what makes your business stand out from competitors. At its core, culture is a reflection of your values, behaviors, traditions, and attitudes. Attracting top talent and retaining them is a huge benefit as recruiting and training employees costs significant time and money.

Employees satisfied with their company culture are typically more productive. Studies show motivated employees will go the extra mile to ensure your organization succeeds.

Promoting community involvement contributes to positive company culture. Employees want to work for a business that cares about giving back, they like being able to take a break from their everyday schedules to support others and work for the greater good. If an employee is offered the same pay and benefits as another business but you can provide a better company culture, they’ll be more likely to accept your offer.

How Can I Become Involved in the Community?

There are numerous ways you and your business can support local community efforts. Here are some community involvement ideas to help you get started:

Encourage employees to give of their time through company-sponsored events or incentives: Start by becoming a great example, dedicate time to volunteering and tell your employees about it. Share upcoming events or activities likely to motivate your employees to volunteer during this period. Promote a few specific volunteer initiatives or give your employees the option to volunteer wherever they’d like.
Sponsor a sports team: There are youth or adult sports teams everywhere in your community. You can sponsor a team and get some great publicity, as your logo will appear on uniforms. If you want to support your community but don’t have a lot of time, this is a great option.

Sponsor an event: Sign up to sponsor events like a fundraiser, marathon, or festival and encourage your employees to attend the event in branded apparel.

Start a charity drive: A charity drive can enable you to give back without spending a lot of time or money. Ask your employees to donate canned goods, books, clothing, toiletries, or other items. Then, send your contributions to a local organization like a food bank or a homeless shelter.

Share your skills: There are likely people in your local community that could use your expertise. For example, if a non-profit needs a graphic designer but can’t afford it, you could volunteer to design their logos or other needs for free.

Offer donor matching: If you have the funds to do so, match monetary donations up to a specific amount and support a local charity. Design a chart or another visual so that employees can see how much your organization has contributed.

What is community investing?

Community investing uses your investments to create resources and opportunities for disadvantaged people under-served by traditional financial institutions. Participation in community investing helps people attain homeownership, and start small businesses, or charities. Open an account at a community development bank or credit union, and you’re already doing community investing.

High-impact community investments are not necessarily the best way to grow your wealth, but rather to better the world while diversifying one’s portfolio. High impact options are generally one to five-year investments that offer market or below-market returns (0 percent to 4 percent) depending on how the market is performing, and may not be insured. Community development banks and credit unions can be FDIC or NCUA-insured. Most community investments are found to have a high impact because investor money can reach borrowers most in need of funds to strengthen their communities.

The main types of high-impact community investing include:

Community development banks or credit unions- these groups support small businesses, job creation, affordable housing, and healthy communities. They are a great alternative to conventional mega-banks.

Micro-enterprise Loan Funds provide small loans and training to entrepreneurs in the US and overseas to create economic development and jobs.

Community Development Venture Capital Funds provide loans to businesses that are developing jobs in low-income communities.

Community Development Loan Funds provide affordable financing for housing and economic development projects, cooperatives, and community-based nonprofit organizations. These loan funds are not insured, although they use grant money and loss reserves to help protect individual investors.

Pooled Investment Portfolios are a great option to diversify community investments. Invest through one large facility which spreads the money out within a pool of institutions that serves many low-income areas in a variety of ways.

Mutual Funds are collections of stocks and bonds that are managed by professional money managers, meaning that expert investors are researching to pick investments. Anyone can invest in mutual funds. Most funds that prioritize becoming socially responsible devote up to ten percent of their assets to community investing, and several even put 100 percent of their assets into underserved communities.

You don’t need to spend a lot of your money on community investing, even one percent can make a big difference for communities. If every socially responsible investor put one percent of their portfolios into community investments, it would triple the funding put into rebuilding disadvantaged communities, which could mean more schools and after-school programs for disadvantaged youth. Micro-loans could provide funds for single parents or former welfare recipients wanting to start small businesses. The investment can also help a low-income family build a home, save for their children’s education, or pay debts.

Investing in one’s community always pays off, everyone can do their share.

Leave a comment