It's All About Involvement
What does my shop, Rick's Automotive in Springfield, Mo., have in common with national brands such as Wachovia and Kraft Foods? The answer: community involvement. Regardless of the size of your company or the type of industry, donating time and effort to improve the community supporting your business will pay dividends. Not only does community involvement help make your community a better place; it increases the public awareness of your business in a positive manner.
What is community involvement, and how can your business get involved? It's much easier than you think and it doesn't have to be expensive.
As owner of Rick's Automotive, I have made community involvement a priority by making contributions to charity events and participating in local organizations. In July, we sponsored "Pink in the Park" at our local minor league Springfield Cardinals baseball game. This charity event raised awareness about breast cancer and raised money for the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks. Our logo was all over the ballpark: on entrance gate banners, on pink Cardinals hats and on kids crayons and coloring sheets given away at the gates. We also donated a hot air balloon ride as a raffle fundraiser at the game. The Cardinals players wore pink wristbands and used pink bats to show their support.
In addition to these charitable sponsorships and contributions, I'm an active member of several local organizations. I serve on the Springfield Chamber of Commerce Board, Springfield Executive Breakfast Club Board, Multiple Sclerosis Society Advisory Board, Ozarks Technical College (OTC) Foundation Board and OTC Transportation Department Advisory Board.
My involvement at OTC is particularly important to me because some of their top students could potentially be my employees. I recently met with Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to discuss the importance of community technical schools and encouraged Nixon to tour the OTC campus, which he did soon after the meeting.
I am also a member of Springfield's Best Locally Owned Companies and Rotary Club Springfield, Southeast. The Rotary Club of Springfield, Southeast, recently recognized my community involvement by naming me Rotary Volunteer of the Year out of more than 200 members.
Involvement in your community means a lot more than just getting your name out there (although that is nice). It means that you're giving back to the community in which you dwell. For me, that is as valuable as helping my business to succeed.
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