January 28th marks Global Community Engagement Day, a day for celebrating communities and the efforts made by others to support them. The 2023 date is fast approaching, and planning how to get involved is a great way to start the year with a spotlight on your company’s values and purpose.
It also leaves a powerful impression on the communities you engage with – one that spreads fast if it’s done right. And for the companies that support small businesses, being a champion for that community can mean giving individual business owners the tools, education and guidance they need to make lifelong dreams a reality.
What is Global Community Engagement Day?
The first Global Community Engagement Day was held in 2018, and January 28th was chosen because it marked the birthday of famous community leader, author and facilitator, Dr Wendy Sarkissian.
Its purpose is about celebrating efforts to make the world a better place, and encouraging organisations to work with communities on solving the issues they face.
When it comes to getting involved on the day, it’s up to you to be creative. Over the years organisations have run local litter picks, activity workshops for children’s groups, celebrated the work of colleagues or community leaders on social media, and donated towards community causes.
There’s no prescribed way to mark Global Community Engagement Day – what’s important is to think about the issues the community has and how best to raise awareness.
Backing your communities benefits everyone
Global Community Engagement Day is a day that any kind of organisation and business can get involved in, and for plenty of good reasons.
Local communities are made up of thousands of small business owners from all walks of life. No matter what sector they’re in, these small businesses often play a foundational role in forming the identity of a community, contributing to its individuality and providing ways for friends and neighbours to support one another. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, especially the local one, and it’s crucial to get behind their success.
Larger companies have an opportunity to ask: how can we provide further support to help these local business communities connect, share, and get more people to have the confidence to do the same?
Supporting local communities is a great way of showcasing your purpose and values. It’s about looking at the world around your company and asking what part you can play in it. The answers you find will be hugely resonant with those communities but also with your customers, far more so than any brand values statement can achieve by itself.
Communities are also quick to spread the word when they’re impressed. For example, telcos face a regular churn problem because they’re so often judged on price above all else. But if people see a telco committed to helping their community thrive, they’re more likely to be loyal to the company and endorse it.
Be honest about where a difference can be made, and engage with the people in those communities to find solutions that benefit them.
Small business owners are a community too
If you’re a company who supports small businesses, Global Community Engagement Day isn’t just a good chance to show them the causes you care about. Your own small business customers are yet another one of the communities surrounding your company, and there’s an opportunity here to reach out directly to them.
Education is an excellent place to start. However tech savvy your customers are, each of them will have blind spots when it comes to going digital. Find out from them what they need to know and come up with ways of delivering it.
Authenticity is very important here. How about providing a platform for small business owners from a variety of sectors to give expert advice? They can share with other small businesses what good looks like when it comes to social media, customer management, time management and so much more. The more you help them understand the tech they’re using, the more you’re improving their chance to thrive.
Think as well about the small business owners who aren’t your customers yet – can this be a way of engaging them by shedding light on tech solutions they’re not aware of? Like any other community engagement project, if you show them a considered, supportive experience, they’ll waste no time in telling the other small business owners they know all about it.