Welcome to the third installment of the "Giving Back is Good for Business" series! This week, I'm going to discuss yet another way businesses can benefit from volunteering with and supporting local non-profit and charitable organizations - NETWORKING.
You might be thinking, "What? Networking? What does that have to do with non-profits and volunteering?" If that's the case, don't worry because I'm here to tell you how!
When you volunteer your time to help out a non-profit or charitable organization, chances are you'll be working alongside other people whom you normally would not have come into contact with. Many times those people are other local professionals volunteering their time because they too support the mission of the organization. In working alongside these people, you're expanding your professional network and demonstrating to them that your business cares about the same cause that they do. As we discussed in previous installments of this series, consumers are more willing to support businesses who support causes they care about - the same goes for other business professionals.
Goodwill Manasota's Ambassador program is an excellent example of the networking benefits of volunteering. Ambassadors are what we call our volunteers and boy do they come from a wide range of professional fields. From politicians to travel consultants to restaurant owners to realtors to authors - the list goes on, but one thing all these individuals have in common is that they support Goodwill's mission of changing lives through the power of work. Many of our ambassadors now advocate for one another's businesses, utilize each other's services, and collaborate on business and educational initiatives. We have monthly ambassador meetings where every individual is encouraged to share what's new with their business and highlight exciting and relevant information other ambassadors might want to take advantage of. We also have quarterly ambassador socials hosted by different ambassadors at their locations providing even more opportunities to showcase their businesses and network (the picture above is from one such recent ambassador social).
If these individuals and businesses didn't support Goodwill Manasota, they would most likely never have interacted with one another. Now they are some of each other's biggest supporters. If they had not chosen to become ambassadors (read - volunteer with Goodwill) they would never have made the valuable business connections that lead to greater exposure and of course, increased revenue.
And let us never forget that networking is a two way street. In addition to meeting new potential clients or business partners, you might meet someone whose products or services are just the thing YOUR business needs. One thing is for sure, volunteering is an excellent way to network.
If you want to learn about more ways your business can benefit from supporting non-profits and charitable organizations, stay tuned for the next installment of "Giving Back is Good for Business!"