There is a quote that says, “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” No one disagrees that giving back is important. Whether it is volunteering to speak at an event, sponsoring a conference, or reserving time to mentor, giving back is not only the right thing to do, but it can also promote goodwill within your company and potentially increase your bottom line. That said, how you decide to participate usually comes down to risk vs. reward. Below are three reasons why you should ramp up your community involvement.

Getting out there means getting to know you

By now, you’ve learned your brand isn’t going to sell itself. Companies need to show the community what they stand for. Sponsoring business events will put eyes on your company and give insight into what your company cares about and stands behind. Sponsoring business events may not end in hundreds of leads – there are different strategies for that. However, if sponsorships are right for you, choose one that aligns with your business’ beliefs and goals. If you sell software to small businesses, it makes sense to support startup and entrepreneurial groups. After all, they will be your future customers. Invest in these groups, give them advice, go to their golf tournament – it will bring attention to your company and position you as a leading expert in the community.

Building connections means building opportunities

There’s a right and wrong way to do everything. Simply throwing money into a sponsorship and never looking back will return no value. The mere definition of “involve” is to experience or participate in an activity or situation. Involvement means action. So before you make any decision, set measurable goals. Who do you want to meet that is also involved? How can you participate in ways that will be the most beneficial to both parties? What do you want others to take away from your involvement? By setting expectations upfront, the ROI will be clear.

Because someone once invested in you

When you started out you probably soaked up all you could from anyone with more experience. As a result, you either found a mentor who was less than helpful, or one who set you on a path to success. Either way, you learned about the importance of proper mentorship. Giving back to the business community by being a mentor to a young business pro or small startup can be invaluable to them. It will also show your staff that you are committed to the success of the local community as a whole. The best part is, as much as you put into your mentee, you will be surprised how much they pour back into you.

Yes, it takes time and effort, but giving back to the business community shows you care about the success of others beyond your company’s four walls. It shows you are someone who is highly involved, willing to participate, has a vision to leave a legacy beyond yourself, and who is here to stay.