Why your business should have community outreach programs

November 10, 2011Leave a reply

Step 71 of the Business Owners Handbook encourages business owners to establish ethics and community outreach programs early in their planning cycle, but many small business owners still question how some of these programs will help their business.

So, why am I bringing this up? I just spent last weekend at the Alzheimer Association’s Walk to end Alzheimer in Huntington Beach, and the event was packed with business teams – some not even associated with Alzheimer support or research.  Why were these companies putting the funds forward, and donating their employee time, when there was little relation back to their fields?

Outside of the obvious – such as reduced costs by going green, or the marketing exposure of team volunteer work – community outreach programs can have marked effects in the workplace too. COMPUTERWORLD magazine has an article on Workers with Heart this month that touches on this. Major corporations are encouraging – and some times even paying – their employees to volunteer their time and finances. Volunteer work (when the employees really want to be involved) gives them a common goal and helps increase communication and collaboration when they return to the office.

For a growing number of companies, employee volunteerism means improved collaboration and productivity on the job.[sic]

Moreover, volunteerism can enhance a company’s image within the communities where its employees and customers live. And offering time off — either paid or unpaid — for charity work can also help organizations attract younger, more community-minded and tech-savvy employees, experts say.

~COMPUTERWORLD, November 2011

Even with the high unemployment in the marketplace currently, finding quality employees can be difficult. Business’s success relies on attracting key employees, and usually it is the energetic, younger staff that bring back the enthusiasm needed to embrace the ever-changing technical landscape and keep your company ahead. Where better to connect with these upcoming businessmen and women than at these events that they are so passionate about? Who knows, the idea that could push your company into the next decade may be waiting for you at the local Habitat for Humanity build site.

Mike Lawson, Comerica’s vice president of technology services, estimates that as a group, IT donates its time and skills to more than a dozen charitable organizations. “It can be a form of stress relief,” he says. “It’s also a way for people to work with people they don’t [typically] work with,” he says. ~COMPUTERWORLD, November 2011

Stress can be a killer – both in what it does to you physically, and in the cost of employee turnover if your office is a high-stress environment. Medical insurance companies and consultants are willing to help you reduce the stress in your workplace, but sometimes it is not an option, especially if your company is in an intense industry. Giving your staff an outlet just might be exactly what you all need. Something as simple as closing the office and allowing them to use their personal hours to collect a paycheck while helping out may be the deciding factor in retaining a key employee’s loyalty.

Planning a community outreach programs is one of the 125 steps covered in the Business Owners Handbook. Pick up a copy through SUMATICI, Inc., or make an appointment with our staff for some one-on-one time to review your business activities.

About author:

Scott Macklin, E.A. is an Enrolled Agent at Darrel Whitehead CPAs and has been working in public accounting for over 15 years. Scott specializes in corporate taxation and consulting, primarily on start-up infrastructure, technology, and international tax reporting.

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