There are many ways to approach being a business owner, think of it as the many ways to approach being a parent. You can be super involved and focus on the immediate and long term growth and success of the business or the child, or you can do the bare minimum and not really care about anything other than the present.
We at PlanIt firmly believe in caring for the community that supports our livelihood. We believe that environmental businesses are still few and far between enough that they can serve as a template and education source for customers and even other businesses. Our vision for leadership is bold, daring and experimental. Nothing great or unique ever came from playing it safe, someone had to be a pioneer. This sustainable movement that we are in is still in such infancy that we are a collective of pioneers. Each community is different, each business and business model is different, we are all in this experimental phase together and can learn from each other.
Some specific examples of how you can give back:
1) Host a neighborhood clean up. Whether it’s your streets, the park, the trails, or the beach. Every outdoor space is in constant need of TLC and it’s simultaneously a way to get the community outside and connected with the issues around you.
2) Host a swap. Clothing, books, home goods, plants, art, produce- whatever you want! It’s a great way for the community to engage and take part in a money free evening where people can simultaneously cleanse unwanted and bring in wanted!
3) Host an influential speaker. Is there a hot topic or sensitive issue in your community? Host an expert who can talk and take questions. Make it a zero waste potluck and encourage folks to come with questions ready!
4) Host a movie night or series. There are some great documentaries out there that are super informational and have the power to truly sway behaviors and state of mind. Some of our favorites are The True Cost, Racing Extinction, and The Story of Plastic. Encourage a discussion following the film!
5) Engage with a policy driven non profit or ask your legislator to come out to a policy event you host where attendees can learn how a law is passed and how they can get involved. Have them learn about the process of hearings and submitting testimony and persuading their legislators.
6) Host a food and supplies drive to collect what is needed for a human and/or pet shelter and organize the drop off.
7) Co-host a tree planting day with a local, applicable group!
8) Invite an up-cycle artist to run a workshop and encourage your community to bring the upcycled supplies needed for them to all learn a new craft!
9) Invite a plant based chef to do a plant based cooking demo and tasting and give recipes to the participants.
10) Use your social media platforms as a way to provide education to your customers in addition to marketing your brand.
I hope some of the things on this list resonate with you! We are always looking for more ideas from the community as well so don’t hesitate to comment or reach out!