Investing in your community brings a variety of returns when utilizing community outreach programs or strategies
When a company is acquired, there is a line on the financial statement called “Goodwill.” The number attached to it can be quite impressive. Very simply, “Goodwill” is the difference between the value of the tangible assets of the business, and the price paid by the buyer. It’s the perceived worth of the company’s reputation, represented in dollars. Community outreach programs and efforts are relevant to any company in any industry, but is particularly important to someone in a service business like chiropractic.
As a chiropractor, you’re a doctor, but you’re also an entrepreneur. Whether you own your practice or are an associate, you’re responsible for building a patient base so you can grow the revenue of the business. Much of that base will come from word-of-mouth recommendations and brand awareness — the “brand” in this case being you.
When you donate your time to help others with community outreach programs, you’re saying, “You matter to me.” When you volunteer for organizations and activities, you’re telling everyone there, “This cause matters to me.” When you give money or run a supplies drive, you’re saying, “My community matters to me.”
Recent studies have shown that more than 80% of the U.S. population notices when companies are good citizens and utilize community outreach programs of efforts, and it impacts their decision-making. Similarly, job seekers say a company’s community engagement is a benefit they appreciate and seek out.
So how do you get some of this goodwill for yourself? One of the most effective methods is to think of yourself as a living, breathing, walking billboard for your brand.
Join a board
Whatever your passion, there is likely a local organization that needs someone like you.
Some boards are working boards where members are hands-on. Other boards are governing boards, making decisions that guide the mission of the organization. Both are valuable and both are always looking for good people to jump in.
Volunteer your team for projects like races or building events
Being in the wellness space makes it a logical fit to round up a team to join a charity race, sponsor water for runners, or be a registration station if your location makes sense.
Other team activities could include spending a day building houses or picking up trash.
Donate your own time to causes
You don’t have to be on a board to make a difference to a cause you care about.
Visit seniors at a local care center, read to kids at the library, walk dogs at the shelter, or be a spotter at a boating regatta. However you spend your time, you’ll meet new people and build a reputation as a helper.
Be a cheerleader for your community by participating in chamber of commerce events
Sure, there are people who attend chamber events just to pass out and collect business cards, but you can do better than that.
Join a project committee. Engage and welcome new members. Find potential speakers. Help plan fundraising events. Be authentic and your reputation will grow.
Community outreach programs: mentor other business owners via associations
Many business districts have an association to advocate for their members.
Whether that means speaking to the city council about making parking meters free on weekends, planning holiday shopping events, or just representing your area when the time comes to designate funds for street improvements, you can have an impact and make a name for yourself as someone who gets things done for your neighbors.
Share your space as a collection site
This is one of the simplest things you can do. Collect change for the local animal shelter, do a food drive for the pantry, or take donations of clothing and household items that need to be rehomed.
Don’t just tell your patients; ask them to tell friends and share the event on social media. The more the merrier.
Look at your community through a big-picture lens
Think about where you fit and how you can help, now and in the future. Do you have ideas that might help your city grow within the larger picture?
Can you envision how short-term challenges and opportunities might be part of a long-term solution? Consider running for your school board, city council, regional planning committee, community foundation or some other beneficial role in your community to share your ideas and energy for mutual success.
Build genuine relationships with the people working to improve your community
If there’s someone you want to meet, ask. When you’re respectful of their time and explain why you’d like to spend a few minutes with them, many people respond positively.
Ask in a way that gives them something. “I’d like to learn more about how I can help with the plan to build a new park,” for example. Or “I’d like to learn more about how you recognized the need for a better delivery system in our city.”
Entrepreneurs, city leaders, members of the press, and directors of large and small nonprofits are all people who likely achieved their own success by meeting with others and authentically growing their network. You can do the same.
Work alongside community members
People remember when they see you working alongside them to help. This is an honest, impactful, real way to introduce yourself to your neighbors and the community as a whole, so when the time comes that they (or someone they know) find themselves in need of your services, they will think of you. And there’s a great bonus: It’ll make you feel good at the same time.
DAN ZIMMERMAN is director of corporate relations at NCMIC in Clive, Iowa. He coordinates and conducts NCMIC’s programs for students, including presenting risk management seminars and the Starting Into Practice program — a free resource for chiropractic students and recent graduates. Learn more by visiting startingintopractice.com.