Article originally published by Smart Business

Is your company finding ways to make your community or region a better place to live, work and thrive? If the answer is no, you’re missing out on powerful opportunities.

I love Northeast Ohio and its communities. It’s an amazing place to live and grow. As I’ve built up my businesses in this area, I’ve tried to make an impact for everyone in the community who is truly in need.

Kaulig Cos. has always been driven by its philanthropic efforts. That’s why we created Kaulig Giving, to improve the well-being of children and families through three things: direct giving, community involvement and amazing partnerships. The more we can grow, the more we can give back to the community we love.

Regardless of how it looks for you — giving money, donating time, or providing resources — companies should make philanthropy a part of their business model. Not only does it naturally provide for your community, but there are three specific ways it has a positive impact on your business.

More than image building

The first thing is to identify what you’re truly passionate about. When you research and understand your community, you can easily see where your passions align with your community’s greatest needs. It’s not just about making a good impression; it’s about making a difference.

When you give back to a cause you truly care about, you are helping improve your company’s image in the eyes of the community and helping to build a better place to live and work for your organization, its employees and the people who live there.

No matter where you’re located, every community and region has needs that desperately need met. By truly caring about the community, you are able to see those opportunities and become an agent of change, which helps build your reputation as a company that wants to make a difference.

Connections and networking

The more you seek out opportunities to help out in your community, the better chance you have of building a strong network and meaningful connections.

In Northeast Ohio, we’ve been able to create outstanding relationships with several amazing organizations, including Cleveland Indians Charities, Fox 8 Cleveland’s Own and LeBron James’ I Promise school.

It has been incredible to see exciting new possibilities come to life with one organization thanks to the work we’ve done with another. This will help you find new ways to help your community but can also lead to important business connections and potential sales down the road.

Building a better culture

Expanding your philanthropic efforts builds a stronger foundation for your company’s culture.

When people know they’re part of something bigger — something that is truly making a difference — they feel better about themselves and what they do. This helps retain passionate employees and attract top-level talent.

Our team at Kaulig Giving involves employees across all our companies in initiatives like Habitat for Humanity, where — even during a pandemic — we all came together to help build a home for a family in our community in need. When your employees are invested in your company and helping the community, that is a win-win for your business.

Philanthropy is important no matter what your business does. After building multiple profitable companies, I’m convinced it’s integral to success and making a lasting difference.

Matt Kaulig is executive chairman of Kaulig Cos. Ltd.