It’s been a trip down memory lane for me this week, seeing all the positive messages for Housing Day filling my social media news feeds. Having worked in the social housing industry I remember too well the many challenges that are faced. However, there was always guaranteed positivity around the work of community investment.
Community investment creates positive change within a neighbourhood, whether it’s by enhancing the area through developing a playground or green space or improving a community’s health and well being with sports activities and exercise classes.
It tells a story. And the stories are good ones to tell.
Because of my role in public relations I was naturally involved with community investment projects. I was lucky enough to witness first hand the effects these projects had on individuals within the community. People wanted to share their news and other people wanted to listen.
Of course, community investment can extend out of social housing. Many organisations are now introducing corporate responsibility and sustainability programmes, linking into their wider business objectives. Done well, it provides a social return.
Community investment provides an opportunity for mutually beneficial objectives in the local area. It helps to build a positive reputation of your company, as well as generate brand awareness. Increasingly, organisations are steering away from ad-hoc donations and moving towards investing in community initiated projects that create a long-term impact.
Stakeholders will take a genuine interest in any investment made to their local area. Local government, MPs, charities and voluntary organisations will often be looking to improve issues for the community, so engagement with these groups is a must.
Providing time and resource is also an excellent community investment method. Employee volunteering opportunities allow your workforce to contribute to projects that matter to them. Community Interest Company Employee Volunteering state that from their recent activities 95% felt that volunteering had a positive influence on them.
Employees are more likely to feel satisfied in their role, and will be proud to work for an organisation that has a commitment to the community.
It seems that community investment is a powerful tool that should not be overlooked. It can improve relationships, internally and externally, and with a strategic plan deliver measurable social value results.