As you should know by now, Nudge Factory’s mantra is: Good for Business, Good for the Community. We firmly believe that companies should build networks and invest in the communities in which they operate, and we encourage our clients to make this an integral part of their business.

Working with local charities and community organisations allows you to get a better understanding of the issues facing a particular area, but also its people and potential. You can build up your company’s reputation and profile, developing a positive image in the eyes of the people who could make up your future customers or employees, and demonstrating your commitment to a community can positively influence key decision-makers in the area. For your staff too it is a good opportunity to use their skills in a non-office environment, developing their confidence and boosting morale as they provide tangible assistance to worthy causes.

We took part in an excellent example of this last Friday, when the Croydon Partnership held its annual Community Day. More than 30 staff from Westfield and Hammerson together with members of the team from Centrale and the Whitgift Centre headed to South Norwood where Home Group have a house that looks after 15 vulnerable people and ex-offenders, offering them housing, health care and social services, to help them reintegrate and re-join the community.

The location we visited is locally run by a small team of dedicated staff, who clearly have a passion for what they do and deliver fantastic services for their residents. We came along to help out with some long-needed DIY and gardening: tidying up the bushes and weeds at the front; sorting out the lawn and putting in some new beds and planters at the back; and painting the corridors and bathrooms inside. A daunting job at the start of the day, many hands made light work and the team were able to take on a few extra tasks before the day was out, with the garden looking pristine in the glorious sunshine, and the new coats of paint brightening up the whole house.

The day was put together for the Croydon Partnership by us at Nudge Factory, teaming up with Croydon Commitment, a local charity that connects Croydon businesses to community groups, and it is a simple and effective example of the Nudge Factory mantra. The Home Group centre benefits from a large team of willing volunteers to get a lot of work done in a single day, at no cost, and their impressive and valuable work gets a wider recognition. For the volunteers visiting the centre, a day’s commitment is not a huge amount, but there’s a great satisfaction gained from working in the community. It’s also nice to get out of the office on a sunny Friday, roll-up your sleeves and muck-in for a day – the volunteers come from different departments of large companies, who are working together on a Joint Venture, so for many it is a first chance to put a face to an email address, an excellent team-building and morale boosting exercise.

Of course, something like this forms only a small part of a broader community and CSR strategy that encompasses a range of activities. But it is an effective one at demonstrating to your staff, bosses or shareholders the benefits of such a strategy, and to stakeholders and decision-makers what makes your company stand above others.