Go big and go local

Over the past few years, there’s been a tremendous surge in the “Going Local” movement. Shoppers today are increasingly passionate when it comes to buying and using local products and services. When they do, they’re not only interacting with their “neighbors,” but they’re positively impacting their communities. It makes them feel good about themselves and the people and businesses they know.

However, customers should not be the only ones who care and participate in localizing. Employees and CEOs alike should focus their efforts on taking care of the local community or a cause that aligns with their business.

When thinking about how to localize, businesses should consider what volunteer opportunities their employees are already involved with that align with their business model. Random efforts for a cause that do not align can come across as disingenuous and not engaging. If an employee has a strong connection with a local non-profit, consider working with them. This allows the employee to feel engaged with the company’s cause, and conversely, helps the company feel engaged with the employee.

Along with the efforts employees might already be involved with, think about the local causes that are close to the heart of the CEO or other top leadership. If a CEO lacks passion or connection to a local cause or business, philanthropic efforts can be seen as just another requirement for employees as opposed to something that truly matters to them.

When a CEO is passionate about getting involved with a specific cause, employees see their efforts as a connection to their company’s values.

If the employees, company, and customers happen to share the same passion for a particular cause, that is icing on the [locally baked] cake.

Localizing your company’s good is best when you already have a successful reputation in the local community. If your company is cared about by the community, you’re in good shape. You also need to make sure your employees feel cared about by the company. Think about it this way: a company’s employees are their internal customers. Care for them at the same level you care for your customers—and that your customers care for them.

We teach at the Culture of Good that one of the greatest ways to care for your employees is to give them permission to care while at work.

Selecting local efforts that have sustainability and exposure is essential. Building a cadence of consistent, sustainable initiatives that impact your cause is key so employees don’t see their efforts as part of just a moment, but rather as a piece of a larger movement. Ask yourself: “What else can we do in the future with this organization to continue the good we did today?” If you can’t continue to do good with that particular effort, find another one to volunteer with.

As you ignite positive change in the world through your cause, ensure you have a plan to expose the world to your efforts. The main motivator for doing good should never be exposure, but exposure should be considered. We’ve heard it said, “We shouldn’t do good to be seen, but we should be seen doing good”. We agree.

In the end, when your local community sees your company doing good for the right reasons, it will have a positive impact and they will become customers. Participating in localizing your cause will have a positive influence on everyone involved–employees, customers, and your company’s bottom line.

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