How advisors can give back to local community and make it pay off for their business too
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. and provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. In this article for WP, he takes a look at how advisors can give back to their local area in ways that can benefit their business.
When life has dealt you a good hand, it’s only right to give back. Giving back in your local area makes sense because you have a better idea how the money is spent. You can see the results. Everyone knows about “the three T’s” of Time, Talent and Treasure. Choosing how you give back can pay off on the business side of your life too.
Here’s the challenge. You need to give back without the expectation of getting something right back in return! You wouldn’t be the first. People can smell that a mile away. (This is Canada, so make that 1.6 kilometres away.)
Let’s look at 10 ways to give back and why they might possibly work out from a business standpoint.
1, Charity fundraising
You are a volunteer. You serve on the development committee. You’ve got a golf outing or gala coming up. You solicit local businesses as sponsors. You are a sponsor too. You ask them to join you in supporting this worthy cause. Your enthusiasm comes through.
The benefit: You are getting in front of people you would have easy access to in your professional capacity. Putting up your own money gets you on the same side of the table. At the event, you spend time together, getting to know them personally. “What do you do?” comes up.
2, Serve on a non-profit board
You are visible in the community. They need people who know people and understand how to get things done. You are aligned with the mission. You get to see other community leaders at board meetings and at social events.
The benefit: Although you can’t solicit them for business, board members get to know each other and often initiate business relationships themselves. “Can you help me with..?” They get to know you as a person, then as a professional.
3, Clean-up projects
The riverbank needs cleaning. A group of volunteers is organized. It makes the newspapers. You put on your Wellies and heavy gloves, marching along with a crowd of others. You haven’t spent money, but you’ve made a positive difference in the community.
The benefit: You meet lots of interesting people. You aren’t a starched, pressed person at the country club, you are a smiling neighbour saying, “Who throws a refrigerator onto the riverbank?” Rich or not, everyone on this work crew are equals. You might even get your picture in the paper.
4, Reader at Church
This goes for other religions too. There are plenty of roles for volunteers. If you are good at public speaking, lectoring is a great match.
The benefit: You are giving back. People see you on a regular basis. Your name is in the bulletin’s assignment sheet. They connect a name with your face. They greet you on the street. They see you as well dressed. Word gets around about what you do.
5, School sports
You are a parent with young children. Your time isn’t your own. You are a sideline parent. Volunteer to do more. Although becoming a coach is a minefield to be avoided, people carpool. They haul equipment.
The benefit: The parents get to know each other. You develop interests in common. You’ve got to talk about something while you are attending all those games.
6, The Community School
Your town might have an evening education program that’s taught by volunteers as a form of adult education. It might take place at the local elementary or high school. There’s usually a category for financial education. Could you teach a course? Would your firm be OK with that?
The benefit: You don’t solicit anyone’s business. People attending think “This woman is smart. You can tell she’s passionate and really cares about her clients. I wonder if she would handle my money if I asked her?”
7, Alumni association
Your school has an informal club of local graduates. They also serve as an outpost of the development department when a capital campaign is announced. You know how to ask people for money. You help organize the local effort.
The benefit: You have a reason to contact wealthy alumni and get in front of them. The school’s capital campaign is your message, but they take a personal interest in you and ask questions.
8, Sponsor a trophy
You are involved with a country club, school sports or some other organization that hands out awards at a dinner. You sponsor an award, making a multiyear commitment.
The benefit: You are the likely presenter on the podium. Lots of people see you. The papers might cover it too.
9, Adopt a Highway
Do you have this program in your area? You commit to keep a section of roadway clear of litter and debris, cleaning on a set schedule. A sign is erected along your stretch of roadway. Hopefully you have help.
The benefit: Commuters pass your sign every day. It builds name recognition. When you get the trash collected, you place the bags under your sign. This gets more attention.
10, Donate blood
It’s important. It’s private. It can save lives.
The benefit: Although you don’t talk about it, you meet other people doing the same thing on a regular basis. You might get a sticker saying “Be nice to me. I gave blood today.” It gets people asking you questions. It sends out positive vibes. “This is a good person.”
You are doing these things for the right reasons. Any of them position you as a “giver”, someone who helps others. That’s a good message to send out.