Globally, leaders are being mindful of giving back or paying it forward. In South Africa it is more than a nice to have, it’s a necessity. There are numerous reasons to give back to our communities - but all too often we do it as a box-ticking exercise, which defeats the very purpose.
All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions
My company has been supporting youth theatre for over a decade. We give time to causes close to our hearts, and sponsor select events, but there’s more to giving than scoring BBBEE or ‘brownie’ points.
The business benefits we have received include:
Respect and a good reputation
As an entrepreneur, it's easy to identify needs and speak with local organisations about what assistance they require. When businesses help others, people tend to want to support the company in return. Building goodwill means there's a group who will recommend you, and offer referrals.
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Respect and reputation begin first and foremost within your organisation. A company with heart is a company people want to be a part of, and getting teams involved tangibly builds a culture of giving back and purpose.
Making your city a better place to live
In our support of community theatre, we upskill individuals, inspire future careers and offer Port Elizabeth professional-level productions. But, it could be as simple as fixing up a local park or donating to schools employees children attend to give them better and safer places to learn and play. Companies that give to environmental causes, or green initiatives, lead to a healthier and more beautiful environment in the immediate area.
We’re based in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, so ocean conservancy is also relevant and in the past have partnered with causes to help build awareness and raise funds to protect the ocean.
Employees respect leaders who do good
Many team leaders go through the motions, without a thought to building employee cohesion or job satisfaction. Lead by example - if you make your company a positive force in the community it can improve employees' respect for their leadership (which can only help you). It's also simply a fuzzy feeling that can motivate your workforce, and employees need all the motivation they can get.
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Connections and networking
Philanthropic organisations are often made up of influential individuals who ‘do’. Being welcomed into and working with these groups brings you into contact with these people. For an entrepreneur or businessperson, these connections are an invaluable resource.
The people you know determine what you can do, and the opportunities open to you. I have also found that members of these organisations tend to have a mutual trust and respect, which are essential for doing business.