Today I’m going to touch on the importance of community involvement when it comes to good public relations. It’s important to realize here that “community” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Depending on the scope of your business or service, you may want to define your community as the local area, the whole district, state, and so on. How you define your community will essentially be the deciding factor in what community events, associations, and causes you become involved with.
There are several factors that apply when deciding how to establish or maintain a reputable position in the community. The major 2 considerations are (1) potential reach and, (2) personal fit.
Potential Reach – Is your involvement with a particular association going to introduce you to relevant people, businesses, or customers? Will participation give you the opportunity to expand your network in the way it needs to expand? And, most importantly, would your work actually benefit the community?
Personal Fit – This is something I cannot stress enough. Do not attempt to be something you know you are not. If you are not into sports, don’t volunteer to coach little league. If you don’t believe in a charity, don’t become involved with it. Be yourself. The foundation of good PR is good communication. Not having conviction or interest in a cause you claim to support will resonate badly with people. On the other hand, genuine enthusiasm yields better results, higher morale, and positive community growth.
Typical venues to approach are clubs, associations, business fairs, sports leagues, charity events, and (if you are so inclined) religious organizations. An important note here is that it is possible to find highly relevant groups in your area, city, or province through social media. Websites like Facebook and meetup allow you to engage the community on a different level.
Fanpages for local causes, organizations, and social networking events are being organized by passionate individuals and business owners all the time. The important part is that these events are not advertised, they are only accessible through online groups and contacts. The degree of participation in the online discussions is up to you, the important part is being aware of this aspect of your community.
As a calgary business coach I cannot emphasize this enough; Do your research. Understand your values. Get involved.