Community service and the small business

I believe in serving the community where you live and work. Not everyone can do this, because the pressures of everyday living provide little or no time. However, as a business owner, I think you have an obligation to do so.

For many years, I did not know how to go about it. I always thought my business was too small, or I didn’t know the right people. Which organizations do you pick? How do I know they would even be interested in my contribution? Speaking of contributions, add in the fact that I always thought you had to write a very large check – which I could not support. So I stayed frozen in limbo-land, periodically feeling guilty about my lack of community support or involvement.

That is, until I got involved with Atlanta’s Partnership Against Domestic Violence, where I was able to offer the services of my advertising agency to help the non-profit develop a communications plan. Then it struck me – I don’t necessarily have to write a big check to be noticed – I can provide the services of my company and perform community service in an in-kind way.  That’s not rocket science, and a lot of small-business owners already know this, but it may be news to some.

For the last few years I have been contributing agency time and talent to a few worthwhile community organizations. And now I serve on the board of some of them – where writing a check is expected.

The larger message is this: once the community provides an environment where your business can thrive, you owe it to give back. It’s not just money that talks – it’s time, talent, and belief that you will make a difference.

— Rena Kilgannon, Principal

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