Dentists and practices should be more involved with their local communities, Mark Topley says.

It has been great for me to see an increasing number of practices reaching out to their local communities recently.

For me, dentists and practices should be active members in their localities.

Some of my more senior dentist friends have treated several generations of the same family over their careers.

Their practices have become part of the fabric of their communities – trusted businesses in the area.

Community sponsorship is just one way to get involved, and there have been some good examples in the news over the past few weeks.

This involves the sponsorship of a good cause or a community venture such as a youth sports team.

Making it successful

My home town’s rugby club is sponsored by one of the dental practices, and as well as helping grass roots sport, they’ve also had their branding associated positively with the club, particularly the youth section.

When it comes to choosing a cause to support, you’ll no doubt know of things locally that your team are passionate about.

From a corporate social responsibility standpoint, there are some keys to making it successful:

  • Fit – choose a cause that is a good fit for the business, either because of a sector link such as health, or a link geographically
  • Connect – connect your team and your other stakeholders to why you’re supporting and what difference it makes. For your team, this means involving them in the conversation as you decide your sponsorship so that they feel involved and are more likely to engage
  • Manage – giving money is only part of the picture. For your support to be meaningful you should consider bringing community work into your business planning. Ideally, it should be the starting point for community involvement. Look for ways to engage with the cause to help them, whether that is by volunteering time or providing profile.