Giving back to others feels good — but it’s also good for your business’s bottom line. Community involvement can give your franchise a greater sense of purpose while spreading the word about what you have to offer. The more your business engages with the community; the more likely the community is to engage with your business. Community engagement through volunteer work, sponsorship, or donations allows you to promote your business while doing something positive for others. Franchisees sometimes face the problem of being overly associated with the national brand, with customers not understanding its local ownership and operation. Once the community realizes that your business is run by someone in the community and not a faceless corporation, they’ll be more likely to support your endeavors.
In addition to raising awareness, community engagement also helps build trust. People want to make connections and support others with whom they share values. Donating and volunteering show them that you want to help your neighbors — not just make money. Further, a community’s overall health and prosperity typically make for healthier and more prosperous businesses.
Community involvement doesn’t necessarily require a lot of money. Volunteering at an animal shelter, youth program, or local event can be just as valuable as writing a big check. Volunteer work also provides an opportunity to create more connections with community leaders. Getting staff involved is even better — they’ll
feel a greater sense of purpose at work, and the community will feel a greater connection with your business.
So, where do you start? Considering your passions is always a great jumping-off point. Your involvement will appear more authentic when you have a genuine interest in an organization or cause. But it doesn’t hurt to be strategic about your choices, either. For example, sponsoring a local youth team and adding your logo to their jerseys will help you secure lots of attention. Consider your goals, and ask organizations how you can help.
The most important thing is not to overcommit yourself and only make promises you can keep. As long as you keep your community involvement manageable, you’ll likely see substantial returns on your investment. Your neighbors will, too.