Connecting Community, Charity And Your Business


Cindy is the Chief Operating Officer of Beauty Bar Medispa.

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”—Winston Churchill

Our community is where we live, where we do business, where we raise our children and the place we call home. In an age of e-commerce, virtual meetings and remote working, human interaction and personal connection are more important now than ever before. Through my work in Greenville, North Carolina, I have experienced firsthand the importance of community—or, as the people here call it, “CommUnity!”

Building Community

Becoming involved with your local chamber of commerce is a key factor in developing community relationships, as well as being a great source of networking. Hosting an after-hours business event that is offered through your local chamber gets other business owners through your door and socializing in a fun, relaxed atmosphere that allows you to highlight your products and services.

I have found the chamber extremely valuable in helping our business promote special events as well as providing opportunities for exposure in our community. Trent McGee, President of the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce, states, “Chambers annually plan a program of work that focuses on fostering the business and economic climate and facilitating an improved quality of life.”

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Giving Back

Incorporating a give-back program into your business can help it grow substantially. Clients appreciate business charity efforts, and they feel good knowing that a portion of the money they spend with such a company will benefit a local charity. A give-back program also promotes corporate social responsibility and demonstrates that the business is not just about making a profit.

Donating to more than one nonprofit organization is something that I believe in, but when it comes to a business’s first give-back program, I suggest choosing one local charity to be your focus for a specified period or indefinitely. The longer, the better, as it shows commitment. Choose a charity that fits your brand, your mission and your customers.

Here are some ideas of how you can work with your chosen charity.

1. Donate a portion of profit to the charity. It can be a portion of a product or of a type of service. You could also have just one designated item from which 100% of the proceeds are donated.

2. Use social media to promote your give-back program. This will allow cross-promotion and additional exposure to the charity, as well as provide your business the opportunity to educate customers about their role in supporting a local charity.

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3. Volunteer your time to work with your charity. Provide your staff with incentives to do so, as well. This promotes positive employee relations and a strong sense of community.

4. Promote your chosen charity to your customer base, starting with a formal announcement. The announcement should include information about the nonprofit organization and how it benefits the community. Also, include how your give-back program is structured, and let them know how their support will have a direct impact on the success of the program.

5. Update your website. Your website should contain information on your company’s give-back program, as well as information on the charity and a link to their website.

6. Throw a party, event or social. Have a spokesperson for the nonprofit present to speak and tell their story. Include incentives, gifts, prizes and raffles for those attending.

7. Conduct an online auction. You can offer items from your business, as well as solicit items from other local businesses.

8. Contact your local media outlets to feature your charity on their platforms. Work with magazines, television, radio and social media influencers who best reach your demographic and fit with your business model. You will need to take a different marketing approach to accommodate their platform, and by doing so, you will be able to highlight different aspects of your business through cross promotion.

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9. Involve local city officials to get involved with your give-back program. I have found city officials extremely helpful to our business when it comes to planning fundraisers and public service needs. By coordinating their services, they can work with your business to develop effective programs.

As Janis Gallagher, a county manager of Pitt County, states, “I believe that a community thrives when the public and private sector work together to address the needs of the people they serve. Give-back programs and charitable events help to cultivate a culture of kindness and compassion in a community that inspires others and enhances a customer base while supporting those most in need. As the Manager of a mid-sized eastern North Carolina County, I have seen firsthand the tremendous impact that businesses have when they invest in their community, no matter how big or small. The intersection of private sector with public needs is a win-win venture every time!”

There is a ripple effect to giving back, and the positive effect is contagious and inspiring and can have a profound impact on your community, your employees and your business.


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