Small Business Community Engagement in the UK: How to Get More Involved.

A small business owner on their phone organizing social media marketing while bending over a desk with a notepad, pen, laptop, and a cup of coffee



Small businesses are the heartbeat of any local community in the UK. From providing jobs and skills to volunteering and supporting local schools, small businesses are pivotal.

Beyond corporate social responsibility (CSR), community engagement can help foster real change and further portray your brand in a positive light. It’s a great way to increase brand visibility, build relationships and grow a loyal customer base.

See how big of an impact your small business can have on a community, as well as useful ideas for community engagement with Adobe Express.

What is community engagement?

Community engagement is the deliberate effort to build positive relationships with people or organisations impacted by your company.

It involves supporting your local community, in the hope that it will lead to social, environmental, or economic transformation. Engagement encompasses anything from participating in an annual community fair to sponsoring a local football or rugby team.

Why is community engagement a good idea for small businesses?

Research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) revealed that 80% of FSB members in the UK contributed to their local community between 2016 and 2019. Of these small businesses, 38% of them donated time and 32% donated skills to their community.

Not only is community engagement a great opportunity to give back to your local area and support their initiatives, but it can also reap rewards for your small business. Here are some of the benefits of small business community engagement:

Free templates you can use for small business community engagement.

8 small business community engagement ideas.

Regardless of what you sell or what service you provide, there are plenty of community ideas that you could implement as a small business. From something simple like engaging with your community online, to offering your products or services at a local event, the possibilities are endless.

1. Volunteer your services for a local event.

An example of brand community can include volunteering products or services for a local event. An independent pub might want to contribute to the local beer festival, while a food company could offer snacks for the annual fair. If you’re a salon owner, personal trainer or similar, you could even offer a discount on your services for a local raffle.

Not only will you be supporting the local initiative, but also increasing awareness of your product or service. It’s a good opportunity to advertise your products too, by giving out flyers and posters.

2. Keep in touch with the community on social media.

It’s becoming more pivotal for small businesses to undergo a digital transformation. Form relationships in the digital world by learning how to build a community on social media. Highlight all the good work you’re doing through your social media marketing strategy and post about your community efforts regularly.

You can advertise any initiatives or events you’re planning with a Facebook post, or join local groups to stay up to date with your area. Use social media to your advantage by building a rapport with your audience and regularly posting on Instagram to engage with your community.

3. Host a fundraiser for a local charity.

Hosting a fundraiser for a local charity gives you the opportunity to support a cause that’s important to your community. Choose a charity that aligns with your small business’ goals and company vision and spread the word with invitations.

Raise your company profile while offering real support to an initiative that needs it. You can also participate in fundraising events in your area – for example, you could put together a company team for a local walk or run for charity.

4. Partner with another local business.

In the spirit of collaboration, why not partner with another business? Local partnerships can help to improve your company profile, as well as fostering a sense of community and support.

By working together, you can contribute to the wellness of your local area and improve your reputation – all while sharing resources and expertise, like marketing budgets and employees.

You could also embrace camaraderie and support your local sports team, whether it’s the local swim club, rugby team or football club. This provides a great opportunity to connect with the community.

Tailor your level of sponsorship to suit your small business budgets and needs – you could even offer branded kits and gear for the team to wear. This not only shows your support, but it also provides advertising for your brand.

6. Support a local school.

Schools are important hubs for communities. Getting involved with a local school allows you to create valuable connections with staff, teachers and students.

Simple ways to get involved include career talks, apprenticeship schemes and career guidance or team sponsorship. Engaging and building a rapport with local schools could even help with future recruitment.

7. Host community events.

Help your community while simultaneously boosting brand awareness by putting on community events. This could span a whole host of topics depending on your business offering, but examples may include:

8. Encourage employee volunteering.

Employee volunteering is a win-win. Not only will it benefit the local community, but volunteer initiatives help to attract and retain talent. Employees feel empowered when given the opportunity to contribute to causes they believe in, which may help them feel more committed to their workplace. Volunteering can also help your employees to learn new skills which may come to benefit your company.

Editable community engagement examples from Adobe Express.

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Useful things to know.

How do you create a community engagement strategy?

To create a community engagement strategy for your small business, start by identifying where your support could be useful. This could be anything from hosting a charity event to sponsoring the local football team. Don’t neglect the power of social media and engage with local issues to raise your brand awareness.

How do small businesses impact the local community?

Small businesses have the potential to offer so much support, from providing jobs to improving the local economy. Things like sourcing your stock and products closer to home can have a positive environmental impact for your community. Plus, small businesses like coffee shops, restaurants, pubs and boutiques can also directly impact and curate your community’s identity.

How does supporting local businesses help the community?

When customers spend money with local businesses, it helps to stimulate the local economy. This in turn helps to create and sustain jobs. So, tapping into your local audience can be a great advantage – not just for your business, but for the community itself.