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Businesses need to interact with their local community to thrive

14th March 2022 By Social Invest
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Businesses need to interact with their local community to thrive

When it comes to running an organisation or a business it is important that you think about all your stakeholders, and not just your customers. Yes, it is true that if you have a good product or service, you will naturally get more custom, however, these days more consumers are looking to shop or work with more ethical and socially conscious organisations.

There are many ways businesses can become more socially conscious and purposeful. One effective way of doing this is by getting involved in the local communities where you may be operating. By getting involved, your business can benefit in several ways, such as improving the positive impact it is making, becoming a leader that other businesses look up to, and more talent wanting to work with you due to your social consciousness.

When looking to collaborate with local communities, it is important to understand your community’s needs and what the people within it require. For many small NGOs, charities, and community organisations, it is not just about money or sponsorship, it is also about skills, resources, and manpower. Therefore, if this is something you can help with, then this is a fantastic way to get involved and interact with your local community.

For example, if you are a design agency you may choose to offer your skills to local community groups on a regular basis as they may not be able to afford to hire designers, or if you are a finance-related company you could help not-for-profit groups with their accounting or sponsor an event that helps community cohesion. Another excellent way to engage with your community is through volunteering.

All these different things can show your business is actively working to make the community better, that you hold a degree of social responsibility towards it, and you actually care. This is what I call being a purposeful and conscious organisation. Often, when new businesses come to areas, they tend to get involved in everything at first, and then suddenly drop off the radar, and this is something you want to avoid at all costs. This can be seen as Impact washing, and this can negatively affect your overall business reputation.

Providing a good product/service is great for any business’s reputation, but being socially conscious is equally as great when it comes to reputation building, as long as the work you do is meaningful and makes a positive difference, and it is not done for impact washing. Furthermore, getting out in the community can give you a chance to nurture relationships with other companies and set you apart from your competition.

Without local communities working and giving custom to businesses, they would not be able to thrive. So, if your business is looking to become more purposeful and socially conscious, it is time to reach out to local community groups to find out how you can help them. As a business, you may have lots of skills, knowledge, resources, and manpower that could help make a massive difference.

If you are a business that is already active in the local community and would like help to report this to both your internal and external stakeholders, then the Social Invest team are here to help. Simply drop me an email at nishall.garala@social.co.uk.

Social Invest is a specialist communications consultancy supporting investors and businesses within placemaking and built environments to tell their story around ESG, socially responsible investment and purpose-driven finance.

Nishall Garala is an Account Manager at Social Invest and a community champion within Harlow, Essex. He has been volunteering in his local community from the age of thirteen, first starting off as an elected Youth Councillor. He currently leads a campaign called #BigUpHarlow, which promotes the town’s greatness. In addition to this, he’s a Trustee for a local charity and President of the local Hindu Society; he also holds other community roles.