Investing in your community is a great way to give back to those who have helped support your business. Volunteer groups and non-profit organizations do so much to help the communities that all of us are a part of, but they can't do it alone.
As successful members of the community, we have a responsibility to help those that are less fortunate and contribute to the common good. I feel this so strongly that it's been a longstanding practice of mine to donate approximately 10 percent of my income to charitable organizations. In some years, I admit, this has been a lot less money than other years, but every little bit truly helps when it comes to good works.
When my business was in the red and I wasn't able to give money, I gave my time, volunteering with local organizations that were able to use my skills. There are so many organizations that need a pair of helping hands - especially a pair of helping hands that are regularly available.
I really enjoy the intangible benefit of giving. Giving back to the community gives you a pleasant feeling of connectedness and the satisfaction of at least trying to make the world a better place.
There are tangible benefits to giving back to the community, too. For one thing, if you give enough, you'll be able to use the charitable deduction on your income tax. For another, giving back to the community can raise your business' profile and even bring you more customers or clients.
Right now my local newspaper is filled with photos of business people presenting cheques to the directors of charitable organizations, which is great publicity. Many businesses even include their charitable work in their advertisements, adding copy such as "5 percent of sales will be donated to (specific charity)", or sponsor particular charitable events. Potential customers like the sense of being able to combine their pleasure in patronizing a business with the pleasurable sense of helping others.
Perhaps in the holiday season, more than at any other time, our hearts go out to others. But there are always those who are less fortunate than we are and will appreciate our help all year round. Give what you can regularly to the charities that make a difference to your local and national community. You may be surprised at the benefits you reap!