There are a wide variety of ways that business people can support their communities.

Nowadays most communities have many problems which require attention and there are a wide range of community groups which would benefit from a company’s involvement.

The type of involvement chosen by a company usually will be determined by:

  • What the community needs and wants
  • The financial position of the company
  • The particular community interests of company management and employees
  • If the business of the company has a logical link to a particular community activity.

Not Just About Money

In the past, the main way that companies supported communities was through philanthropy or gift-giving. Often this involved a company having little further to do with a community group or project after the donation was made.

Now, however, the trend is for companies and community groups to develop ongoing strategic relationships to address local issues and build stronger communities.

A strategic relationship between a company and a community group may involve an exchange of money, but ideally this will be only one aspect of the relationship and it may not be the first step.

Money relationships alone under-utilise the wide range of resources that business and community groups have to offer one another. Also, they overlook the fact that most attempts to strengthen communities and address local problems require ongoing efforts rather than one-off attempts.