In today’s challenging economic times, it is even more important that business leaders engage in philanthropy. Many business owners like Matt Redhawk, the owner of My Patriot Supply, make helping others a priority.
There are many areas of demonstrated need in every state, city, and community. Nonprofit budgets are strained, and small businesses are not able to keep up with their employees’ or customers’ needs. The economy is in trouble thanks to unforeseen events, and businesses are needed to step up and offer assistance to the community. Redhawk explains how having a deep connection to the local community can benefit not only the community itself but the business as well.
Taking Care of Employees
It is a sad fact of life that many companies have had to furlough or lay off their workforce. Especially in such fields as restaurants and hospitality, the workforce has been decimated. A socially responsible company should consider doing all they can to help the workers they have had to let go, including providing severance pay and assistance finding another job.
Local Community-Based Help
One of the best ways for business owners to give back is by finding local nonprofit organizations that are deserving of their assistance. Today, food banks and soup kitchens have become invaluable parts of the local landscape. Businesses can place collection boxes at their place of work or donate goods or money directly to the organization.
A community-based approach to philanthropy is most useful when a company takes the time to understand what is truly important. For example, there could be a problem with school lunch debt going unpaid. Paying this debt will help underprivileged children and young adults receive the nutrition they need each day and create goodwill for your business.
Another valuable way for businesses to make a difference in the local community is to mentor young and at-risk members of the workforce. Mentorship does not have to take a great deal of time, and it can help a young worker to build their professional network as well as helping the mentor build connections with new parts of the community.
A Focus on Emergency Preparedness
As current events are unfortunately making clear, most local communities are not prepared for emergencies. Stocks of important items like personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers as well as basic health and sanitation products are low. If companies have stockpiles of these items for their own use, it is important to give them to the local health care organizations that need them the most.
Companies can also work to help local organizations prepare proper emergency plans. They need to be able to physically and financially prepare for unexpected events.
Benefits to the Business
It may seem that philanthropy is undertaken without any expectation of reward, but many businesses have found that their good works have led to better business in the future. For example, a restaurant that feeds needy families in these extreme economic conditions will find that they get more business from grateful community members.
Giving back also enhances a company’s public image. Branding is one of the keys to success and having good works under your belt is a way to supplement your company brand.
Educating the Public
Businesses may find that they have important information to share with their communities. This information could be connected with emergency preparedness or with some other timely topic. This information can be shared online or in print as well as on television and radio.
Changing Your Attitude
There are philosophical differences between those who believe that businesses are mainly concerned with themselves and those who believe that businesses should have the tools to help the community as a whole. Matt Redhawk believes that businesses should, of course, look out for their own interests but that they should devote any extra time, money, or energy to helping out within the community.
While our present economic concerns are severe, at some point in the future our economy will return to a normal activity level. When businesses are up and running again, customers will not forget the companies that helped them when they were down.
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