5 things businesses can do to give back to their communities

In our current era of corporate social responsibility and growing concern around issues such as social inequality and the environment, businesses need to think about priorities other than turning a profit.

For many companies, it has never been more important to play a significant, positive role in their local communities, or, in other words, to ‘give something back’.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) highlighted this trend in a recent study focusing on smaller firms in Scotland, 82 per cent of which have contributed to local causes in the last three years.

Throughout the UK, 80 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises have done the same.

Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “Anyone with their finger on the pulse of their community knows that smaller businesses play a pivotal role. In our new research, we try to measure this contribution and we find that local firms are punching well above their weight.”

If your company is looking for ways to help the local community, here are some good ways to do it…

Donate to local causes

Giving money to local charities is one of the quickest and easiest ways to put something back into your community.

Small, regular contributions to a group that does good work in your area can make a difference, or alternatively you could encourage employees to donate unwanted items for sale to raise money for local organisations.

Get involved in events

The involvement of local businesses can give charitable events a valuable boost and increase their potential to generate funds for the community and good causes.

Four out of ten firms (39 per cent) responding to the FSB survey in Scotland said they have helped out in their area by running local clubs or organising events.

Encourage volunteering

Encouraging your employees to do some volunteering can provide valuable help to organisations that need it, but also improves people’s sense of achievement and work/life balance.

Some companies give their staff a designated amount of paid time off each month, quarter or year to do some volunteer work, benefiting everyone involved.

Use your expertise

If your business specialises in a particular skill or service that will be of interest to others, why not use this to provide some advantages for your local community?

This is something that a third (33 per cent) of small businesses in Scotland have done, according to the FSB research, with one local restaurant offering free cookery classes to low-income families.

Buy and hire locally

If you want to provide a tangible boost to the economy in your area, one of the best things to do is to start locally when you are looking to employ people or purchase the products and services you need to do business.

Buying locally supports other companies in your region, while leaving reviews and participating in events like Small Business Saturday can also make a big difference.

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