I recently returned from the 22nd annual Renewal & Remembrance. The event allows members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals and their families to tend to the grounds at Arlington National Cemetery and United States Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery.

I use the word “allows” because everyone I talked to in Arlington is honored to work for free for a few hours for a good cause.

It’s a personality trait of the volunteers at the event, and on a larger scale, it’s the attitude of the industry.

That’s a good thing because this industry is ideal for volunteer work. You have the talent and the equipment to help beautify landscapes.

Landscapes are a number one priority to this industry, but sometimes they fall down the priority list of homeowners if times get tough or they experience an illness or worse a death.

For some business owners spending time and money to work for free when they are already working 12 hours to make ends meet is difficult, and I get that.

But if you can carve out some time for volunteer activities and put aside some money in the budget, you’ll find it has plenty of benefits.

That’s why this month we wanted to focus on how different companies volunteer their services and use their position as a strong business in the community to help those in need. The stories focus on providing services for free, but also dive into diverse ways a landscaping company can help a cause, like YardApes did by starting a charity golf tournament, which you can read about in this issue.

And you don’t have to do it alone. There’s nothing wrong with teaming up with the competition for charity events for the greater good of the community. Or, volunteer to be the landscaping part of a larger project.

One company we write about in this issue is providing free services through a city run program. So, the weight of being the lead on a project doesn’t have to solely fall on you.

Usually vendors are involved supplying materials, as well. So, whether you come to them for help or they come to you, it helps you build a better relationship with those vendors.

And let’s be honest, volunteering and charity is great for marketing and generating business. It’s OK to admit that.

So, as you plan for the end of the year and next year, think about some ways as a green industry professional that you can start volunteering or take on more opportunities.

Not only is it good for your company, but it also shows those in your community the importance of the services you provide. – Brian Horn