Why You Should Consider a Business-Community Partnership

Getting your business involved in the community is a great way to increase employee morale, encourage work-life balance in your company culture, and generate buzz about your company. Community involvement can mean supporting individual involvement in charity events, like sponsoring employees in Relay for Life. Getting involved as a company in piece-meal activities, like hosting a blood drive, is also a great way to go. However, Business-Community partnerships take community involvement to the next level. By forming a partnership with charitable organizations in your community, your company can provide support on an ongoing basis. This consistency provides more fun and reliable service for both employees and the communities they serve.

What is a Business-Community Partnership? Simply put, it is an ongoing relationship between a business and a community organization. The business provides some kind of support—money, goods, or manpower—to the organization. The benefits to the business include better employee morale, a positive brand for the company culture, and the opportunity to network with a variety of potential customers and future employees. Business-education partnerships are a common type of business-community partnerships. In this case, employees might mentor students, volunteer to chaperone school events, or donate supplies to schools.

In terms of marketing benefits for your business, business-education partnerships are a great way to go. Reaching out to public schools means reaching out to parents and families as well. However, other types of organizations need assistance and can create buzz. Consider: disease-fighting organizations, community health organizations, sustainability groups, animal welfare groups, community food banks, homeless shelters, and even arts/performance organizations. Religious organizations would also be fine to partner with, but it would be a good idea to compliment this affiliation with a secular partnership. No one should feel left out of community involvement!

A strong Business-Community partnership begins by gathering a group of people at your company who feel passionate about volunteering and company culture. This group should decide what the company is willing to offer a potential partner. Can you offer funding, goods, or services? Volunteer hours are a great inexpensive way to start a partnership, as is offering expertise on a given subject. If you are a tax firm, perhaps you can provide free tax preparation to your partnering organization as part of your community involvement!

After deciding what goods can be offered, select a community organization that best suits your company culture. Look for a partner that employees will be excited about—and don’t be afraid to consider which groups will yield the best networking results. You should be getting some good publicity out of this partnership!

Is community involvement a part of your company culture? Tell us your successes and challenges below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by zappowbang