As payment professionals, we play distinct roles in business, with our families and as members of our communities. Sometimes we choose our roles; sometimes they are imposed on us. In either case, the roles we play define us.
Our families, businesses and communities all characterize us in certain ways. And we sometimes forget these three areas of our lives are not separate from one another; they are fully integrated. To have a happy life it is of enormous benefit to have satisfaction in each of these areas.
Keeping this in mind, many ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) have invented new ways to integrate their lives with their work and community. Some incorporate as certified benefit (B) corporations. B corporations work for profit but also place a high priority on the social and environmental goals of their businesses. Others help their communities by partnering with local merchants to raise funds for schools and nonprofits through rewards programs.
These examples prove socially conscious programs are viable business models that not only generate new profits but also increase merchant stickiness because such programs attract customers, strengthen merchant ties to the community, and, in short, offer benefits to merchant beyond price. So while altruism may launch these businesses, pragmatism grounds them.
Of course, not all ISOs and MLSs have the will, the opportunity or the ability to assist the nonprofits in their communities or to form B corporations. However, they still can help their communities in the daily course of business. Again and again, our industry has stepped up to assist those in need. For example, we have helped tornado victims in the Midwest, earthquake victims in Haiti, hurricane victims in Louisiana, and earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.
Spring is a good time to remember other, less dramatic ways we can help people in need through our work. These present themselves almost daily. For example:
This type of community-minded action offers ISOs and MLSs significant opportunities to participate in and influence their communities because they are organized and effective professionals who know the network and landscape of their communities. Thus, their businesses are well placed to help patch holes in the social fabric.
The benefits for the community when ISOs and MLSs offer to help are obvious. For payment professionals, community service can raise a business's community profile; generate good will and publicity; potentially bring sales people to the attention of new customers; and create a valuable sense of self worth that enhances the quality of life for the ISO, its employees and the community it serves.
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