Despite the current COVID-19 pandemic and the major disruptions it has spurred in all of our daily lives, business plans and the economy, we still see the light in the way our community has banded together. More than ever, we’re seeing businesses tap into their capabilities in order to give back. This rings especially true to us at dovetail solutions, with our firm built on Strategic Community Investment (SCI) as a core offering for our clients.
We define SCI as helping clients understand where opportunities exist in the corporate, political and nonprofit worlds in order to become better and more deeply integrated into the communities they care about. Now, more than ever, we encourage companies to consider their community impact.
The big question we often get is: why? Why spend the time and money investing in the community? Of course, at the core of all SCI efforts is a desire to give back. But truth be told, we find clients often receive much more in return:
- Corporate philanthropy. There’s the obvious motivator – that companies ought to give back to the communities that have supported their businesses. Intrinsically, most consumers and businesses want to support those who are doing good, so that their personal or business dollars have a meaningful impact.
- Building business networks. Building relationships with third-party validators helps add credibility to your brand and expand its reach far more than any single company could do on its own.
- Professional development. Sitting on boards and committees often helps expand team members’ skill sets beyond your industry, and you develop a stronger team for it. Does a team member participate on an event planning committee for a local nonprofit? Now, along the way he or she has grown fundraising, external communications and project management skills. This can translate well for supporting your firm’s business development or client service goals.
- Media opportunities. Whether it’s pitching news about a fundraising campaign, developing thought leadership on a team members’ expanded realm of expertise, or facilitating an interview with the board chair of a nonprofit, the opportunity to expand media presence happens organically when you’ve expanded your company’s touchpoints within the community and, thus, your company’s network of experience.
Now, the second question we usually get is: how? There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to building an SCI campaign. Each campaign should be unique and tailored to your organization, industry verticals and team members’ interests. With a mix of the following efforts, we help clients meet and exceed their SCI goals:
- Introduction meetings with key business, political and nonprofit community leaders (goal: develop third-party advocates whose voices have already been well established and are credible.)
- Strategic event attendance and membership/sponsorship opportunities (goal: part of getting to know the right people is knowing where they spend their time and attending the same events.)
- Strategic partnerships and business/community boards (goal: serving on a board with important industry or client contacts can help establish or strengthen relationships.)
- Speaking opportunities (goal: showcase your leaders as industry authorities.)
- Awards/leadership programs (goal: earn recognition opportunities via third-party validators.)
- Relationship development training (goal: learn how to make the most of relationships and identify ways to make connections within your networks to strengthen the company’s presence in the market.)
In our humble opinion, there’s no more meaningful way to invest your company’s talent and marketing budget than in a robust SCI campaign. When done correctly, the results are designed for sustained impact into the long term.