Establish Good Community Relations
Perhaps most importantly, giving back establishes positive relations between businesses and the communities they serve.
The family-owned and operated company, Park Lighting in Edmonton, Canada, believes in a responsibility to give back to the community because the community has provided the company with a strong support system. Four Saturdays per year, the company hosts what it calls Charity Days, on which the company’s entire day’s sales go to a chosen charity. This also occurs on four of the busiest months of sales for that day.
Two of the charities that Park Lighting donates two are local, while two are global.
“We recognize that not all people and communities have been afforded the same opportunities that have been given to us,” says Kathryn Pasma, Event Coordinator. “They do not have the same support structures, social and financial resources, stable government and many other luxuries that we take for granted.”
In recognition of their commitment to the community, Park Lighting received a 2016 Showroom of the Year Award for Exceptional Community Involvement.
Create Networking Opportunities
While charity and goodwill should always be the main focus of giving back, showrooms can also improve their networking opportunities through community work. After Hurricane Matthew struck in October 2016, Pace Lighting in Savannah, GA, reached out to one of its top suppliers, Georgia-based Capital Lighting, to coordinate the donation of hundreds of free light fixtures.
Working with other local companies helps you carve out a place for yourself among them. Your reputation in the community will grow, and customers will want to give you business because they want to see more of your good work in the community.
“In this way,” says Lisa Dixon, CEO of Pace Lighting, “your connection with the community takes in a deeper meaning and helps solidify your place as a business that people want to visit and support as they see you giving back.”
Connect with Employees
Your employees are part of the community too. By doing good work in their communities, employees may feel more connected and loyal to a company that supports their schools, churches and charity events. Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery in Wichita, KS, donated nearly 4,000 toys to the Salvation Army of the Virginia Peninsula. As part of the company’s fourth annual Project Holiday Joy campaign, more than 350 of its locations across the country partnered with local nonprofit organizations. Associates also participated in adopting families through the Angel Tree program, donating toys for children and gifts for senior citizens and collecting monetary donations in their communities.
Design Lighting’s employees make volunteer work a monthly ritual. Every second Friday, two employees spend company time serving lunch, helping in the kitchen or sorting donations. The schedule is on a rotating basis, each time employees are going with a different co-worker. The company also has a main fundraiser the Coldest Night of the Year — a five-kilometer walk to raise money for the shelter.
“When employees see that their company is involved in the community where they live, work and send their children to school, they are more likely to feel proud of their company,” says Heidi Visser, Marketing Director. “That sense of pride translates to hard-working, engaged employees who see their job as much more than a paycheck.”