By Kim Artlip, Columnist
Every year, IGNITE Wrestling staff has participated in various community awareness events such as the International Coastal Cleanup, National Night Out as well as bringing awareness to stroke prevention, breast cancer month, motorcycle safety and food pantries that serve our local area. We did this prior to forming our company with a previously owned business, so I don’t see anything odd or unusual giving back and being a part of the community. Especially since our company and our shows are based here – but sadly, not all businesses feel the same way. Are you looking for ways to give back to the community? Why is it so important that every business takes an active role in the community?
We all have a social responsibility to help give back, whether you are a business, fan, or wrestler. Not only is it good business, but it shows the true character of a person on how they treat others. Would you want to do business or support a business that doesn’t truly support your community? Or, are you attracted to businesses and individuals with a solid respect for others?
How did we start?
Even before our company was founded, in 2016, we’ve been actively participating in the local business community. I have always felt that small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities. They bring people together, allow neighbors to support neighbors, and offer alternatives to the big box stores dominating the market. However, small businesses can’t just expect to open for business and expect customers to show up. They need to be a proactive part of their communities.
Staying connected to the communities they serve is important for every small business. Not only does giving back to the community bring businesses and residents together for common goals, it also helps small businesses gain a competitive advantage by promoting trust, recognition, and goodwill. Anyone who understands business and marketing will tell you that customers want to do business with people that they like, know and trust? Are you building that factor? If you are then how can you get involved in your area? It doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming!
Here are some of my favorite ways we can give back to our communities, and bring everyone closer together:
Start a food or clothing drive
Even in wealthy communities, some people are undoubtedly living in poverty. As of 2014, 21.1% of Americans were living below the poverty line, and often unable to purchase necessities like food and clothing. Prior to our show last October, we partnered with United Against Poverty to help stock and supply the food pantry on the Treasure Coast for the holidays. We promoted it on social media and were blessed to have our amazing fans answer our call for canned/non perishable goods by donating over 125+ items to help those in need. It just goes to show that every little bit helps and we were able to provide needed items to families in crisis.
Support other local businesses
Giving back to your community also means supporting your neighbors and fellow business owners. Get to know the other establishments around you, and make an effort to give them your business. Don’t just be someone who only hangs posters in a window but promote that local business on your social media, recommend them to out of town guests looking for a great meal or visit them yourself and bring them in business.
Help be part of a solution
Each community has its own individual problems, and small businesses can play an instrumental in solving them. Worry less about your profit margin and more about helping others. It doesn’t take away from your bottom line to give out free tickets to various organizations so that disadvantaged youth might have the chance to enjoy events that we take for granted.
We are a family that has strong and deep ties to the military. My father, father-in-law, uncles, husband and other relatives have all served proudly in the armed forces. So it was a natural progression for our family to make giving back to our military veterans part of the fabric of our lives. So it was fated that our first show at the local armory raised funds and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. Later shows were collaborations with Boys and Girls Club, Ronald McDonald House and local advocacy organizations. We connected with our community and didn’t just sit quietly in our own corner focused only our company but what we could do in our local community.
An Ongoing Effort
Of course, whatever you can do to give back to the community always helps someone. However, it’s important to remember that community involvement is an ongoing effort, not just something to do at the end of the year or every once in a while when you think of it. Staying woven into the fabric of your community takes consistent action, sincerity, and time. Find causes that you feel passionate about and make them part of your business’s identity—you’ll be building a strong foundation for yourself, your business—and your community. Until then what are you going to do to give back? Tell us in the comments. Until then ignite your fire, and follow your dreams.
Owner + Promoter
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