There is a reason Vancouver and Victoria are listed among the Top 10 friendliest cities in the world: It’s because we care. We care about our community, giving back and creating a sense of community. And the statistics prove it.
In 2010, the total amount of financial donations made to charitable and non profit organizations totaled $10.6 billion. However, charitable giving is not limited to financial contributions. A similar study in 2010 found that 13.3 million Canadians devoted over two billion hours to volunteer activities, which is equivalent to over 1 million full-time jobs. The study also found that almost all volunteers (93 percent) said contributing to their community was a key motivating factor in their decision to volunteer, with 78 percent wanting to make good use of their skills and experience.
Building Your Team
Charitable giving, however, does not have to be tied to individual’s donation of time and resources. There are many reasons to bring together your employees and make charity a focus in your organization.
Community-based team building events have a proven track record of developing team cohesion, staff morale and motivation. Taking your staff outside of their normal working environment allows personalities to flourish in a way that you may not have witnessed in your business.
Giving back is a great motivator. It helps build leaders and strengthen relationship. There’s nothing like helping others to make you feel energized. And achieving a shared goal can help foster great pride and loyalty amongst your team. Harnessing that energy, pride and loyalty when you return to your place of business, can help refocus team visions and goals.
The Face Behind the Name
Another benefit of contributing to your community is its ability to present the ‘face behind the business’. Business is about trust, quality products and friendly service. By humanizing your brand, you increase that level of trust, letting your clients know you care.
“We’re seeing more of an emphasis on brands building emotional relationships with consumers because it’s powerful and it works,” explains branding consultant and author of Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies, Jim Stengel. “When you do it, you have a much stronger affinity, a much stronger business, much stronger growth and much stronger results.”
The important thing to remember is, like all relationships, trust and authenticity go hand-in-hand.
So, get out there! Find a project that both you and your employees can connect with and start giving back your community.
Small Business BC’s Community
Giving back to the community is at the heart of Small Business BC. While not supporting one particular charity, our team takes part in various challenges and events to help raise the profile and money for those charities our staff have personal connections to.
Most recently, one of our board members, Cybele Negris nominated our CEO, George Hunter to support the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which he graciously accepted. Through doing this challenge, our team was able to build connectivity with one another and our community. Not to mention, have a bit of fun.
Image courtesy of: Lisa Parker, Community Studio