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January 17, 2019

How To Grow Your Business: An Interview with Tim Foley of Business Volunteers, MD

This is the fifth in a series of interviews of business leaders, designed to help you grow your business. Previous interviews: Vince Sharps, Mindgrub; Mike Rogers, SecurityHunter; Burck Smith, StraighterLine and Josh Hurwitz, GrowBridge Consulting

Community engagement’s all about giving. There’s a tremendous need out there for community engagement – and wherever you live, you likely have some ideas about how you can help make your community stronger. Aside from all that we can do on an individual level, there are measurable benefits to businesses that volunteer their resources to help the community.

Tim Foley, of Business Volunteers, MD, helps businesses strategically volunteer their resources. I sat down with Tim to discuss his view on how businesses can benefit from developing strategy around their community engagement initiatives. He describes four major benefits:

1. Retention and Engagement
Every business wants to find and keep the best people, especially the younger leaders of tomorrow. These people really care about the community and want to be able to give back. Employees want to know that the organizations they work in share their values and are involved in the causes they support themselves. They’ll know that your company’s interests are aligned with theirs, and that you’ll give them the chance to do engage in activities they are passionate about. Empowering these groups to lead community engagement work through internal committee service or leading volunteer activities will allow them an elevated and more valuable role in the organization.

2. Leadership Skill Development
You can’t build leadership skills unless you have an opportunity to practice. Before making someone a leader in your business, help them acquire the skills in a real-world setting. Your employees can assume leadership roles in the non-profits that need them as leaders, and when you’re ready to make them a leader in your business, they’ll have actual skills to make them succeed. Many important leadership skills are difficult to develop in traditional career paths, so volunteering, committee, and board service provide an excellent opportunity to train your leaders.

3. Building Partnerships & Networks
Strategic engagement with the right nonprofits and their boards and committees increases your visibility. Choose a non-profit to work with that will get you visibility before good prospects and clients. Once you do that, anything you do will get increase your visibility and allow you access to new networks to develop partnerships which will help your business grow.

4. Branding and Reputation
People will hear about your company and your community engagement efforts. You’ll get exposure. Your name will come up often, and your brand will be developed. Prospective clients and employees will hear about you, appreciate your dedication the communities where they do business and they’ll reach out to align themselves with your mission. How better to show people all the value that you truly have to offer as a business?

As a business, you’ll want to make sure you genuinely give people time to get up and go and be involved. Make it real and live in your business, part of your culture. Once you build a strategy and really leverage community engagement you’ll help your company, your employees, and your community. What more could you want??

Want to know more about how community engagement can help your business or how to get started? Click here to read more, or you can reach Tim directly at tfoley@businessvolunteersmd.org.

January 17, 2019

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