Finding innovative ways to attract new clients—and convincing them to stick around—is an ever-present challenge, especially in an uncertain economy. While the latest advice is to save as much money as possible, many companies have discovered that giving back to the community—both in time and money—has been an even smarter move for attracting and retaining customers. Corporate giving certainly isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that has stood the test of time and benefits everyone involved.

Giving back doesn’t necessarily mean pulling out the checkbook, either. “Today’s CEO is very concerned about being a good corporate citizen,” says Katie Edwards, vice president of marketing for the Center for Nonprofit Management in Dallas. “Even with limited budgets for corporate giving, dollars still exist to support critical community issues, and more companies are pursuing employee engagement activities as a way to give back. In a year when federal and state budgets have been dramatically cut, nonprofits are dealing with a steep increase in the demand for their services from people who need their help, but have far less funding available to support their work. They must look for creative and new ways to partner with corporations, foundations, and government to provide their programs and make a difference in the community.”

According to Edwards, nonprofits no longer act alone in their specific silos, looking to the outside world for simply financial support. They must look for engaged and active partners from other nonprofits, corporations, and other sectors to work together to pool resources and provide the collective impact needed to take the steps to create social change. “Local CEOs will take an active role in these new coalitions of nonprofits, corporations, foundations, and government,” Edwards says. “They will become bridge-builders to bring the community together around a specific issue.”

Because CEOs are watching their budgets closer than ever, they want to feel confident about where they place their charitable dollars. Nonprofits are stepping up to show them creative ways corporations can support their cause. Whether CEOs give of their time, money, or both, the effect of supporting local nonprofits can result in big returns as customers feel more comfortable doing business with companies that are involved in social issues and responsible business practices.

Everyone is touched by a nonprofit in some way, but the number and scope of the nonprofits in the area often surprises people. There are 20,868 registered 501(c)(3) organizations in the 16 counties that make up North Texas. These nonprofits are struggling more than ever before, thanks to the unpredictable economy. Looking for ideas on how your company can give back? To inspire you, here are some examples of how local businesses and CEOs are helping the communities that support them.

good_01 Bank of Texas Fort Worth Region employees work together and build together for Habitat for Humanity.

Bank of Texas

Many people think of their community simply as the place where they live, work, and play. At Bank of Texas, the community is its livelihood. For that reason, Bank of Texas believes in giving back every day and in many different ways. “Serving our community is more than a commitment,” says Norm Bagwell, CEO for Bank of Texas. “It’s our culture.” Bank of Texas believes making all of its communities strong is more than a good idea—it’s good business. Supporting the community means healthier families and more productive citizens. It means a robust economy with thriving businesses. It also means supporting an ethnically diverse and inclusive work environment.

More than anything else, strengthening the community is an investment in the future. Bank of Texas’ approach to service is diverse. Its goal is to generate a lasting impact by providing a variety of other donations, including in-kind contributions and employees’ time and talent.

In the last year, Bank of Texas supported hundreds of organizations throughout Texas. Support consists of monetary contributions as well as gifts of goods and services ranging from technology equipment to school supplies.

For instance, Bank of Texas is the proud presenting sponsor of The Trains at NorthPark that helps support the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. Additionally, the Fort Worth and Dallas Bank of Texas teams raise thousands of dollars every year for the March of Dimes and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Bank of Texas’ community outreach is successful because of its employees, and they contribute thousands of community service hours to hundreds of organizations. They collected books to donate and read to underprivileged children, painted houses, planted trees, and picked up trash and debris to make the community more attractive and enjoyable. They also host annual gift drives during the holidays to donate to local charities and collectively walked hundreds of miles to raise money for a number worthwhile causes in Texas.

When all is said and done, a thriving community continually improves its standards of living when its members come together to help and support one another. Bank of Texas believes in supporting these efforts and is proud to be a strong community supporter.

Dallas Safari Club
The Dallas Safari Club is a nonprofit hunting conservation organization that raises money to support its mission to conserve wildlife and wilderness lands, educate youth and the general public about wildlife conservation, and promote and protect the rights and interests of hunters worldwide. The Dallas Safari Club has more than 5,000 members worldwide, with about 40 percent of its membership coming from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It was founded in 1982 as an independent hunting conservation club with close to 200 members.

good_02 Ben Carter, executive director of Dallas Safari Club, speaking at the annual convention banquet.

The Dallas Safari Club supports its mission with funds raised from an annual convention and expo. The 2012 convention will be held January 5 through 8 at the Dallas Convention Center and is expected to raise more than $5 million. It will feature 400,000 square feet of exhibits comprising almost 1,400 booths and 800 exhibitors, including the finest guides and outfitters from around the world, gun makers, jewelers, wildlife artists, furriers, clothiers, exotic furniture and room designers, photo safaris, and outdoor trip specialists. Approximately 35,000 people are expected to attend the convention. Highlights include a life member breakfast, evening banquets, and a ladies’ luncheon. The banquets, held at the Hyatt Regency Reunion, will feature live auctions Thursday through Sunday evenings. Attendees can bid on one-of-a-kind hunts, art, firearms, fishing trips, and adventures. More than 500 women are expected to attend the ladies’ luncheon, complete with entertainment by Inside Out and an auction featuring art, jewelry, and outdoor adventure trips.

During the past five years, the Dallas Safari Club has given almost $3 million in grants to directly support its mission. The money has helped fund the restoration of desert Bighorn sheep in Texas, educated future wildlife managers in Tanzania, supported Big Brothers of Dallas and Fort Worth, and assisted more than 100 North Texas schools’ Outdoor Adventure Program. This program is a semester-long course that teaches future generations about the outdoors and what wildlife, nature, and recreation provides for everyone.

In addition to its annual convention, Dallas Safari Club also sponsors monthly member meetings and activities including wine pairings, an annual dove hunt, and a trophy room tour, among others. Fundraising efforts also benefit the Strand, the Dallas Arboretum, the Cattle Baron’s Ball, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.