If you’ve ever worked for a large organisation you’ll probably be aware of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and how businesses and public sector organisations give back through CSR programmes and volunteering.
But when you’re a sole trader or run a small business with just a handful of staff, corporate social responsibility programmes may not seem like something you can afford to get involved in. Large organisations will often invest significantly in the charities or organisations they support, match fundraising by employees for causes that are important to them, or give staff time off to do voluntary work. For the micro business this may not be so easy. However, many micro business owners are actively involved in the local community and donate a huge amount of time and resources to make a difference. Why?
The benefits of corporate social responsibility for small businesses
- They live and work in the local area
- It’s good for business!
Many local business owners live in the area and are very aware of what makes their town a great place to live and work. They understand the challenges a town like Whitehill & Bordon face, and the benefits of living in this part of the country, and therefore have a good idea of how they can make a difference and why they should.
Supporting local community initiatives is also good for business. Not only can it raise your business’ profile and provide you with promotional opportunities, it also helps to build a thriving local community which ultimately has a positive impact on everyone’s business and trade.
That’s why many of our members are already involved in local community groups, volunteering and giving their time or expertise for free. They might not think of it as corporate social responsibility, but they’re doing just as much (if not more) as some of the larger businesses in the area.
How you can get involved
SiGNAL, where the Bordon Hub is based, was founded to help local businesses thrive as part of the Whitehill & Bordon regeneration programme. Our believe is that by supporting small businesses we can help bring more opportunities to the area and be part of a vibrant and successful local community. However, just providing office space and facilities for businesses is not enough, we all need to support the local community by getting involved. If we do, we might be able to accelerate the growth of the local economy and help to make Whitehill & Bordon a really attractive place to live and work.
There are lots of ways you as a sole trader or small business owner can get involved. You could donate a percentage of profits to a local charity, or donate vouchers or products to charity auctions and raffles. You could host coffee mornings, run marathons or hold fundraising events to support a local organisation. Or you could offer sponsorship, helping to fund essential equipment or sponsoring a specific event.
You don’t have to give a financial contribution, you could give your time or expertise instead. For example, a graphic designer could produce free artwork for their chosen community group, or an accountant could do an organisation’s books. If you don’t think your skills are needed, donate your time and labour by volunteering. That could be a regular commitment such as volunteering with a local community group or by getting involved in one off event like a Business Volunteering Day.
In fact, there’s a great opportunity to do exactly that coming up in June when Community First will be holding a Business Volunteering Day in the Bordon Inclosure! Local businesses and individuals can come along to help the Deadwater Valley Trust clear the invasive Himalayan balsam from some of the woodland areas. No skills are needed, just a willingness to get stuck in and make a difference.Click here to sign up now!
Joining this working party will help improve one of our most prized local amenities – the Bordon Inclosure which is popular with families, dog walkers, runners and anyone who enjoys the great outdoors.
It’s also an opportunity to find out more about volunteering with the Deadwater Valley Trust or with other local organisations. Community First can help you find a good fit for you and your business, whether you want to donate time, skills or funds.
Coming along to the Business Volunteering Day will also give your business some publicity and could even be a useful networking opportunity. The event will be covered by local media outlets, so wear a branded T-shirt! Lots of other small businesses will also be volunteering, working side-by-side, so it’s a great alternative to normal business networking events.
We’ll be there too, so please join us and see how you and your business can make a difference in Whitehill & Bordon.Sign up here.Janet Duggan from Community First will also be at the Bordon Hub next week to talk about volunteering and what Community First does. If you can't make the Business Volunteering Day in June, come along to find out how you can still get involved in the local community.