Show of hands here: how many of you are entrepreneurs? And how many of you want to see your business thrive?

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There are several factors that allow a business to do well. Some of these can be gleaned from courses you take in business school but most of the savvy-ness comes from experience, gut instincts and hustle. However, there is something powerful that gets underestimated or overlooked, and without it you are not only throwing opportunity out the window, you are also doing your employees and your community a great disservice.

And that is giving back to the community.

Here are 5 reasons why your small business, or large corporation, should add charitable endeavours to its business plan:

1. When you sponsor a charity event, it is a great opportunity to market and network, particularly if you are taking a hands-on approach. Go the extra step to sit down with the non-profit organization you wish to support and find out how you can be front-line. Getting your company logo on an arts festival brochure is not as effective as spending half a day at the festival, wearing your logo on your company T-shirt and meeting people who are enjoying the sponsored event.

2. Workplace morale is boosted. People want to work for companies that are doing great things. Your employees work hard all year round to fulfill your vision for your brand or product. Why not get their input and give them allowances of time and resources to do something that makes them feel awesome? Allow the initiative to come from the entire team – from choosing the cause to networking and meeting with the organization(s) to carrying out the event or campaign. If you want to hire outside help to be the coordinator and save some human resources allocation, that is also a wise idea. Let me know if you have any questions about how this works.

3. It’s good for your health. No, seriously. It’s been scientifically shown that people who volunteer and perform acts of kindness have higher levels of serotonin (Nature’s anti-depressant) and stronger immune systems. Happier, healthier employees = greater productivity!

4. If you had to choose between two companies who offer similar products, and you learn that one is active in community giving while the other isn’t, which company are you most likely to do business with? We are innately good and kind beings. We like people who express these qualities, and this goes for companies as well. Be the biz that has a leg-up on the competition by tapping into your goodness and you will attract the kind of clientele you want to work with.

5. Because you can. Everyone can. The world is not divided into haves and have-nots. It’s joined in an all-encompassing circle which means you need to do what you can to allow someone else to do what they can. Providing a hand-up (not a hand-out) to your community makes your community stronger and in turn, that strength grows your business. Participate in this circle because you can.

Add this to your business plan and reap abundance in all these areas!