In the communications world, we often talk about knowing your story down pat. When the opportunity comes for an interview, you want to be ready to share who you are and communicate your core values and messages. But even more important than knowing it all cold is living those values and making good on them. We’ve had one great example of just that in the Richmond community this week.
If you follow Richmond dining news (or even if you don’t as this made the front page), you no doubt have seen that Comfort co-owners Jason Alley and Michele Jones have announced they are changing their business model for the restaurant, donating all net profits to fighting food insecurity through a partnership with FeedMore. The announcement not only has created a huge buzz locally, both in media outlets and on social media where it has been shared hundreds of times, but it also has made national headlines in publications like Food & Wine and Southern Living.
Alley and Jones are both known for their altruistic efforts around the community, but talk about taking a leap and leading by example. They’ve both spoken about their own experiences growing up in food insecure homes, and looked for an opportunity to turn their success in the restaurant world into an impactful change in the community they serve. And with several other restaurants under their helm, they can afford to give back in this way through one of them.
Maybe your organization’s values have nothing to do with hunger, but you’re still looking for a way to make an impact in your community. Here are a few tips on where to start:
- Look to your team for guidance. Whether you have a team of two employees or 100, listen to them and find out what they see as areas of need in your community, whether it’s public education or assisting the homeless. Involving your team at the beginning will ensure that everyone feels engaged and bought in as part of something bigger than themselves.
- Listen to your community. In addition to talking to your team, listen to the community. What are the needs you’re seeing, and what are the things that are making headlines? Most importantly, what does your organization have to offer that could make an impact on those needs?
- Look for ways to make a meaningful impact that fit within your values and offerings. Every organization has something different to offer, from profits to pro bono support. What a law firm can bring to the table will be different than what a restaurant has to share with the community. Know who you are and shape your giving accordingly.
- You can’t do it all. One reason the Comfort team’s decision to give back in this way is so significant is because they went all in – and they’re partnering with one organization to really make an impact. Had they announced that they were going to be donating profits back to 20 different causes, the intention still would have been wonderful, but it would have allowed them to do less with what really mattered to them.
It’s clear that that Comfort’s co-owners made this decision because it’s one they believe in. They didn’t do it for the publicity or the foot traffic, but because they truly want people to help FeedMore by dining at the restaurant. Needless to say, we won’t be surprised if they’re fully booked for a while.
What’s the best example you’ve seen of a company living its values?