Posted: Wed 24th Oct 2012
The figures, revealed in a new study by Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI), show that a good proportion of the UK's small firms are failing to tap into the potential benefits of community involvement - and the smaller the business, the less likely they are to be engaging with community events and causes. In fact, only around 35 per cent of micro-businesses are community-minded, according to the Community Matters report. Yet the benefits of community involvement don't just include increased sales, the survey of 500 business people and 1,700 members of the public found. Almost two-thirds (65%) of businesses surveyed acknowledged that community relations improves staff morale (65%). Seven in ten said it makes them more attractive to potential customers and 58 per cent said community engagement was appealing to potential employees. "Businesses have a real opportunity to benefit from their community support," said RIBI president John Minhinick. "While 'giving back' is an important element, businesses are missing out on the other commercial benefits such as raising brand awareness, meeting new contacts and employee development." The Community Matters report found that businesses typically cited lack of time and money as reasons for not being more community-minded. If businesses have a better understanding of how they can make their community support work for them on a commercial basis, then any money outlaid on a particular cause can be justified and will result in a more planned, strategic and beneficial commitment."
We know that small businesses love to get involved in community events and schemes, but realise that when you're very small it's difficult to find the time and resources. But if you are engaging with your community, we'd love to hear what you're doing - whether that's supporting a local cause or event (like 'suburban skiing, above), sponsoring or giving freebies to a local sports team, giving talks at schools or business organisations"¦ tell us what you're doing and how it benefits you in the comments below.