When you own a small business, you are often short on time and money. Unfortunately, both of these things are required when starting, maintaining, or growing a business. And, when you have been in business for awhile, the calls start coming in to your office. Would you be able to assist with this event? How about sponsoring a community-based children’s festival? Can your business provide monetary donations to an upcoming benefit? And, you first thought is the following: “How am I going to fit that in to may already packed schedule?” The next thought is, “Why would I want to do that?”

Volunteering your services can greatly enhance your business. And, volunteering can mean many things. It can mean providing a monetary donation to a local event, speaking about your business to a civic organization, or providing a presentation to a local chamber of commerce. All of these methods have one thing in common: they allow for added visibility for your business. When someone calls Feather Communications and asks if the business will participate in volunteer work, my question is usually the same: “How could I potentially help?”

Does this mean that I take part in every volunteer or free opportunity? No – no business can possibly do that. However, it means that I do investigate to see if my business will be a good fit with the potential volunteer engagement. Not every opportunity is a match for my organization. And, if it’s not, I respectfully decline the opportunity.

Here is an example of how volunteering can really help grow your business. Recently, I was asked if I would make a presentation to a local chamber of commerce audience. The presentation had to do with social media and how to utilize it effectively. Because this is an area of business I want to promote, I decided to take the opportunity and made the presentation about a week ago. The chamber of commerce did not pay for the presentation; however, I knew that I would be meeting a variety of professionals throughout my area.

Since that non-paid presentation, I have worked with a company to set up its Facebook page and met with another attendee to revise and update her resume. Both of these jobs are paid. And, if both of these clients are happy, then they will tell others. In this way, volunteering your services and expertise truly does help your business grow. Furthermore, it raises your profile within the community and provides additional exposure for your business.

So, the next time someone asks you or your small business to participate in an event for free, strongly consider the possibilities that may come in the future. And, be sure to completely consider the opportunity when it presents itself.