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Philanthropy and Community Investment for Small Business

Today’s businesses are expected to practice good social responsibility, but it’s sometimes hard to understand not only how to achieve those goals, but what corporate social responsibility is in the first place. For small businesses, two activities should comprise a significant portion of your efforts here – philanthropy and community investment.

Philanthropy – Philanthropy is defined by Webster’s as, “the practice of giving money and time to help make life better for other people”. Small businesses can and should be involved in philanthropic efforts within their local communities. These efforts can be comprised of almost anything, ranging from food drives to monetary donations to local charities to clothing drives and more.

Giving money, time and effort to local causes achieves several goals. First, it has a dramatic, immediate benefit for those directly benefited. Second, it shows a commitment on the part of the business to building and supporting the local area. Third, it builds loyalty in customers.

Community Investment – Community investment is a bit harder to nail down than philanthropy, at least in terms of a concrete definition. Perhaps the best definition is from Investopedia, “Community investing – investments made directly into low-income or disadvantaged communities through channels such as community development banks, credit unions, loan fund and microfinance institutions”.

Community investment also has real impacts on the local area by helping more people in the region gain economic freedoms, as well as access to things like owning their own homes, better educations, less reliance on federal and state welfare programs and more.

Philanthropy and community investment are both important concepts for all small businesses, and they don’t necessarily take a significant amount of time or money to start. Small steps can lead to big results, and create a stronger, more stable local area.