Finding ways to sustain your local community should be a key priority for your business. Here are a five ways to support your local community.
By putting community at the heart of your business, you become more resilient and benefit the environment. Your customers will enjoy participating in authentic experiences involving local life and having that support system and community backing will leave everyone happier in the long run. One example of a business doing it right is The Burren Ecotourism Network. You can learn more about them here.
To help get you started, here are five ways to help sustain your local community.
1. Tell Their Story
Create a narrative around the community you are associated with. Build your customer experience around stories, traditions and people from the local community. Involve them in the entire process from start to finish. Not only does this let locals know that they matter, but it gives them a voice.
2. Support Local
You need only step into a village or town around the country to see the range of incredible, independent artists, artisans and entrepreneurs honing their crafts. Why not join forces to create a support network of all the sustainable or eco labelled businesses in your community? Whether your customers are looking for transport, accommodation, a meal, or a pint, recommend those businesses that are invested in sustainability and in the local community. Collaboration is key and chances are they will return the favour.
3. Give Back
There’s more than just money that can make a difference; think of all the innovative ways that you can give back. For example, do you have space in your premises that you could offer as a co-working location to local start-ups for a discounted rate or for free? Can you use your business standing to secure community development funds to invest in projects that empower local people? Do you employ locals? Work with local schools so future generations become ambassadors for the local area and its sustainable development. There’s a million little ways that you can make a difference.
Get out there and listen to what the community wants and needs. Building long term relationships takes time, but we promise if you open up that dialogue, you won’t look back. The last thing you want is for local livelihoods to be negatively affected due to your business. Monthly or quarterly meetings are a great way to resolve any issues before they escalate and to get creative with projects.
5. Volunteer Your Time
Volunteer or be a part of local community groups and initiatives. How can your business be a force for good in the community and what skills and resources could you share with the community? Being a business committed to sustainable development reaches beyond your own operations and towards creating value for the common good. For example, could you coach other small businesses on getting started or could you share your experience around becoming a sustainable business?
Sustainable Travel Ireland is a profit-for-purpose company. Our purpose is simple; we want to transform the Irish tourism industry into one that respects and protects the environment, but also supports local communities and makes better places for people to live and work in. Learn more about what we do here.