In 2014, we launched the Southend Business and Community Charter, an initiative working with local authorities and other organisations to encourage businesses to get more involved in their local communities, and celebrate and acknowledge those that do via a rolling awards system. What has been an absolutely amazing discovery is the number of businesses that do get involved in a variety of different ways, but so often completely under the radar.
Is it the natural English reserve that stops business owners and directors shouting about the good work they are doing? Apparently, some people even feel it’s morally wrong to be promoting their business on the back of their “good deeds.” Others are frightened of being accused of greenwashing – and others just haven’t thought about it or haven’t got round to doing anything about it.
We want to shout about what businesses are doing, and we want them to be blowing their own trumpets too. Why? It’s quite simple really:
Firstly, we genuinely believe that if a business is supporting the community it should gain the business benefits of doing so. Businesses that are authentic in their good works do what they do because they feel it’s the right thing to do and it gives them pleasure. And that’s absolutely the way it should be. But that shouldn’t mean that they can’t or shouldn’t promote their good deeds. Customers would love it and it certainly helps increase profile and reputation. And in some cases, it’s even demanded of businesses that are tendering for contracts.
But the second reason is perhaps the most important. Please, please don’t hide your light under a bushel because the more business people talk about the good stuff they do to support their communities – whether that’s fundraising, volunteering, mentoring or employing apprentices – the more it will become mainstream. There are so many terms bandied around: social business, CSR, shared values……. The ultimate goal is not for businesses to have a special label: the ultimate goal is that “doing good” is the norm: that it’s viewed as just good business.
So please get involved with your local community and SHOUT ABOUT IT!
It can also be extremely beneficial to have third-party authentication so do check out the RBS Social Value Certification.