How SMEs can take a stand in the community
Businesses don’t operate in a vacuum, they operate in communities. They are an essential part of the social fabric.
When Z Energy was founded 10 years ago, it recognised that given its size, it was present in nearly every community in New Zealand. With that privilege came a sense of responsibility – to give back and make a difference in people’s lives.
That was the inspiration behind the highly successful Good in the Hood charity campaign, in which Z distributes money to much-loved nonprofits, as voted by customers at Z service stations around the country.
Many hundreds of charities, from national household names to hyperlocal efforts, have received support in this way, with around $7 million given away since 2013.
This year, to celebrate 10 years of Z Energy, 10 charities which have consistently been favourites since Good in the Hood began will each receive a share of $700,000. This means each of the 10 will receive larger donations than in years past, when dozens of charities would be pitched against each other for votes.
The chosen charities for 2021 are: Hospice New Zealand, Coastguard, Graeme Dingle Foundation, Life Education Trust, Look Good Feel Better, Child Cancer Foundation, Bellyful, Victim Support, Heart Kids and St John.
“We’re trying to really focus on making an impact this year,” says Victoria Crockford, External Communications and Government Relations Manager for Z Energy. “While hyperlocal support is really important, some groups were getting just a few hundred dollars.”
With each organisation this year receiving a significant sum, they will be encouraged to distribute that throughout their networks around the country.
And to further maintain the community feel of Good in the Hood, each of the more than 200 Z service stations has an additional $1000 to give away to a local charity of their choice. This could be for something as specific as providing women’s-only swimming classes to refugees in the Muslim community or making breakfast for children at low decile schools.
While proud of the impact Z has, Victoria points out that a business does not have to be a large corporation to make a difference through charitable donations. Nor does it need to give away money in order to support its community.
As a SME, you might want to support organisations like St John in other ways, says Victoria. For instance, you might pay for ambulance officers to come to your workplace and do first aid training. Or you might volunteer with an organisation like Bellyful, giving time to the cause.
Think of ways that your business can be active in the community, and take a stand to support those who need it.
Perhaps you make a product that would be useful to a charity, to sell or give away?
“Every bit makes a difference. Every action contributes,” says Victoria.
In addition to doing the right thing, a SMEs’ involvement in the community can boost the bottom line. Remember, being active in the community increases your visibility and the reach of your brand. It’s good for employee morale too, leading to enhanced loyalty and team cohesion.
And when customers are choosing between your goods and services or a competitor’s, many will base that decision on who they perceive is doing good work in the community, not just providing the best price.
It’s not only good to do good in your community – it’s good business.