SMALL BUSINESS + NONPROFITS: HOW TO GROW YOUR COMMUNITY

In these past few weeks, we have spent a lot of time chatting with local and small businesses, ethical brands, and nonprofits. One trend we've noticed consistently is challenges in growing your community - whether that's finding partners to work with, organizations to collaborate with, or finding new clients + buyers. We know that without the right community or tribe of supporters, your visually-appealing Instagram or newly revamped website isn't going to get you far. So, we've rounded up some ideas to help you maximize the entrepreneurial + do-good community, with the help of some of our own friends!

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  • If you are in a space where you can collaborate with others for a small event or campaign, this is one of the best ways to cross-promote and gain awareness with a new audience! For example, Hidden Grounds, a coffee shop in the college town of New Brunswick, NJ often collaborates with local businesses and students to host unique events you'd find nowhere else. They've invited local artists, musicians, and all sorts of coffee-lovers to share their craft and host an innovative event. Another example would be The Yellow Co's new Membership Launch party is taking place at The Good Trade's studio space, the perfect venue for likeminded individuals to learn and engage.
     
  • Most communities typically have a Chamber of Commerce or local small business development organization - are there any networking events, tools, or resources you can utilize to your benefit? Many of these Chambers are extremely supportive of nonprofits and cause-driven organizations. If nothing else, they tend to have lengthy directories of their members you can use to your advantage. 
     
  • Support other local businesses! Our friends at Storyweaver Mercantile have the right idea in mind: "Buy from them, encourage them, tag them in social media posts, and try to foster community over competition." If owners know you're rooting for them, they'll reciprocate and support you too - especially if and when you need that in-kind donation for your upcoming silent auction. 
     
  • One of the easiest ways to gain visibility is to set up your Google For Business page. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar storefront, nonprofit office, or work out of your home office space, you can create your Page to show your hours, contact information, or show/hide your address. This not only helps the people you serve or your clients find you, but it also boosts your SEO!
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  • This next tip comes from Cambio Market: Create a "mastermind" group with likeminded businesses and nonprofits. More than ever, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are giving us the tools we need to organize networks where we can learn and grow from one another. Whether you're online or in-person, (virtually) get together with other business owners for coffee or drinks. These small chances to connect can be incredibly useful. Online groups we love are: Heart-Centered Biz Bosses for do-good entrepreneurs, the Ethical Hour Growth Network for those in the ethical brand + #ethicallymade space, and Rising Tide Society for creative entrepreneurs.
     
  • Lastly, use hashtags and SEO to find people + organizations online. Use tags of your location or industry/space you're in for those searching, and include important keywords people can find you by. Not sure which hashtags to use? Look at the accounts of people in your space who have great engagement + traffic and see what they use, or try thinking through what you would search for. If you can, write a guest or paid post on another blog to get a link back to your site, which also helps increase your online presence.