The Community Net

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by Steve Holt on October 22, 2012

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I am involved in my community. What that means is that I participate in and associate myself with numerous organizations in my community that do different things. I am a member of business organizations, a civic club, and a church. I have coached ball teams. I have taught at the local college. I support the booster club in my local schools where my kids go to school. I donate my time, money, and stuff to local charitable organizations. And I buy tickets to ham breakfasts, pancake fund raisers, and meat sales.

I am connected in many different ways to all those organizations, and my friends and family do the same thing, so I see many of the same people when I go to those places. We are all ‘connected’ in that way. I call this the ‘community net’, and the bigger the net, the better off we all are. The community net is made up of churches, social services, ball teams, civic clubs, schools, businesses, chambers, governments, and more. And just about everyone in the entire community connects to at least one of those.

I do all these things as an individual, and many of you know what I am talking about. When the girl scouts knock on your door you buy the cookies even though you probably don’t want to, because that’s who you are. But I want to encourage you to do the same thing as a business. You see, businesses are an important part of the community net and if you pull them out of that net it becomes a little weaker, because we are all tied together.

So what am I suggesting that you do? Here are some examples:

  • Host a Chamber ‘business after-hours’ at your business.
  • Sponsor a little league ball team.
  • Encourage your employees to donate to charity.
  • Give your employees 4 hours a month, on the clock, to go volunteer at a local community organization. (And encourage them to wear their company polo shirt!)
  • Sponsor a charitable fund-raiser and encourage all your employees to wear their company shirts and volunteer during the event.
  • Donate iPads to a local school.
  • Donate your time to the local schools, for example, one of my local schools solicits volunteers to go into classrooms and read books to the children in younger grades.

Not only is participating in this way a great way to promote your business to others (and a heck of alot cheaper than advertising), it’s simply the right thing to do. If you opt-out of participating in your community net, then you, your employees, and your community are worse for it. We are all tied together, so find out where your business ‘fits’ in that net and get busy.

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