COMMUNITY RELATIONS: Benefit, Types, and Full Job Description

Community Relations
Photo Credit: Reputations today

Several companies can be in a particular community, however, how can your company have a hedge over the others. One way to gain control of the community you operate in is to perform a community relations strategy. However, community relations refers to methods companies maintain mutual benefits from the community they operate. Nevertheless, this article will bring to your knowledge some of the jobs and examples of community relations programs.

Image Credit: Agility PR Solutions

Community Relations

Community relations refer to the several ways companies use to secure and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with the communities in which they operate. Creating a community relations strategy can be the most vital communication activity performed by an organization, yet it is often ignored.  

In today’s environment of public mistrust, gaining public consent to operate has become a major issue for most businesses. However, managers are urged to open community relations programs in areas consistent with their DNA.

For example, a company that produces or sells laptops should think about “choosing” a school and contributing to the school’s computer department. Or perhaps donate laptops to certain members of that neighborhood. 

Such actions can improve a company’s image in the eyes of the public who are potential customers. However, It is because of this that a company uses these PR tactics.

Furthermore, communities also like the fact that they can rely on companies to assist in community development programs. Moreover, the community was there before the business and sees it only fair to enjoy some of the privileges.

Community Relations Programs

A community relations program is a strategy that promotes a connection between your business and the community. Also, it is about how you interact with other organizations, businesses, and individuals in your community. Most importantly, it is about the ways you give back and support the community where you operate.

Example of community relations programs

Here are certain examples of community relations programs.

Scholarship Programs

Companies should always try to give back to the community in which they operate. However, one way of doing that is to provide scholarship programs for people of that community.

Urban Renewal Projects

Another example of community relations programs is urban renewal projects. This is where companies help in renewing failed projects in the community. However, other ways are performing arts programs, social and educational programs, and children’s activities.

Benefits of Community Relations

There are several benefits when a company gives back to its community. However, the benefits of community relations cannot be overemphasized.

One benefit is that it gives your company a good image in the community. Another benefit is that it gives your employee some sort of pride when they know that their company gives back to the community.

Thirdly, community relations help a company in gaining prospective loyal staff with those scholarships they give. The beneficiary from the scholarship can later work for the company after school. Lastly, the company will gain loyal customers, because it is the people from the community that will still buy from them.

Community Relation Jobs

As a community relations expert, you will create and manage relationships with individuals and organizations that can promote your employer’s goals. For example, a company that produces sports gear can give back to its community by sponsoring local sports events.

A common community relations job description includes executing community outreach programs, organizing events, coordinating volunteers, and developing public relations strategies that will promote the organization’s mission.

Photo Credit: Jefcon & Associates Ltd

Tips for Creating Community Relations Strategy

Companies using this strategy should however learn some of these tips.

#1. Invest in a professional

Various companies use community relations specialists and consultants to create the best possible strategies. However, their experience and expertise will make sure everything runs fine and prevent failure.

#2. Set clear goals

In order to create a lasting impression on the community, companies must set clear goals. However, every company’s goal should be SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.

Also, you do not need to change the world overnight. However, your goals should be realistic, as it will end up eating into your budget and discouraging your employees.

#3. Review your aims and values

The company’s mission statement and core values will be at the heart of any community work they do. However, keeping them in mind will direct you to what projects to focus on.

#4. Reach out to other companies

A company that wants to give back to its community should seek inspiration from other businesses in its area. Also, they should look at what they have done and how it improved their business. However, they can also collaborate with other businesses on a community outreach program.

#5. Decide on the type of project

There are several ways to give back to the community, from scholarship and community investment to a social media awareness campaign. However, choose what best fits your goals and link everything in your strategy to it.

Where Should You Start With Your Community Relations Strategy?

Community relations entail giving back to the neighborhood. It can take many different shapes, but here are some suggestions to get you started.

#1. Community investing

Microsoft is well-known for investing in the communities in which it works. In 2019, the company invested $500 million in Seattle-area affordable housing.

This is an excellent illustration of community investment. This action not only made a tangible difference for the neighborhood but also garnered Microsoft more fans and an abundance of positive press coverage.

Even if you don’t have $500 million lying around, a donation of any magnitude to a local organization will be welcomed, and it will help spread awareness of your brand in your neighborhood.

#2. Community events

Community activities are another way to give back to the community.

Many businesses can feel impersonal or inaccessible. However, a community-wide summer party or business holiday cocktails could do wonders for your reputation.

Another strategy is to support community events. Consider McDonald’s, which collaborated with the FA League to sponsor community football days throughout England. By sponsoring refreshments, activities, and training, they assisted a large number of football-obsessed youngsters in taking their first steps toward playing professionally.

This was an excellent endeavor by McDonald’s. In addition to gaining a legion of new, youthful followers, they also received a substantial amount of community relations PR for their work.

#3. Social media

Additionally, effective use of social media may do wonders for community relations. Retweeting a message about a local fundraising or voicing support for an issue that affects your community can be a potent means of initiating change.

Consider The Body Shop. In 2018, the skincare brand collaborated with Cruelty-Free International to raise awareness about the problems associated with animal testing for cosmetics. They collected over eight million signatures for a petition to the United Nations requesting international bans on animal testing by leveraging their social media presence. As a result, countries including Australia, Canada, and the United States established anti-testing legislation.

#4. Volunteering

Corporate volunteering is an excellent method for involving your employees in the community. Age UK, a charity for the elderly, has collaborated with organizations such as Lloyds Bank and Santander to improve the lives of individuals through corporate volunteering.

The program entails sponsors organizing outings and cinema trips for the elderly and disadvantaged, as well as staging enjoyable social activities at Age UK locations.

Setting up such volunteer programs for your workers is an excellent way to give back to the community and maintain their motivation. Despite the fact that it does not directly raise earnings, demonstrating social responsibility is a wonderful way to boost employee morale, as demonstrated by this Deloitte poll.

What’s the Difference Between Public Relations and Community Relations?

You may acknowledge the significance of community relations, but how is it distinct from public relations?

Public relations subsume community relations. Community relations are the actions your company does to cultivate goodwill in the community. It’s the contribution you make to establish a new hospital wing or the advocacy you engage in for a local cause.

Public relations are the means by which you package and show your work to an audience, such as the media. Public relations is when you send a press release to the local newspaper with images from the hospital wing’s inauguration ceremony.

There is a natural crossover between the two, as community relations can generate their own public relations. For instance, if a local journalist learns about your donation and writes about it in the local paper, or if someone Tweets about your generosity and your good deed becomes viral, that is organic community relations public relations, which is the most effective type.

This is one of the many reasons why your community relations professional should remain in contact with the rest of your public relations team. The PR staff can collaborate with your community relations consultant to promote the visibility of your community projects.

Conclusion

In conclusion, companies should always by all means try to give back to the community they operate in. However, some companies sometimes destroy their host community by dumping waste and other harmful substances from their finished product. Also, companies should not forget that it is still this same commodity that consumes their product or service.

Community Relations FAQ

How do you build community relations?

Companies using this strategy should however learn some of these tips.

  • #1. Invest in a professional.
  • #2. Set clear goals
  • #3. Review your aims and values
  • #4. Reach out to other companies
  • #5. Decide on the type of project

Why is community relations important?

One benefit is that it gives your company a good image in the community. Another benefit is that it gives your employee some sort of pride when they know that their company gives back to the community.

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