When it becomes necessary for a business to determine its actual value, an estimate of "good will" is included in computation of the bottom line. Although it is an elusive and subjective assessment, it often characterizes the effectiveness of the business model and certainly the leadership and management skills of the directors. "Good will" is as important to non-profit and volunteer-based community organizations as it is to the full spectrum of commercial and even governmental businesses. It is the essence of any productive and sustainable endeavor where customers or participants have more than one option to choose from in fulfilling their requirements.
We had a case in point recently here in Shepherdstown when the AAAA Self Storage Company agreed to continue the practice of the previous owners in providing rent-free use of a large unit by the Shepherdstown Community Club. We had been using it to store the books collected in preparation for our annual sale, which is one of our major sources of income enabling us to continue providing the War Memorial Building as a community center and Morgan Grove Park for recreation. It is not an insignificant gesture on the part of the company to give up the revenue that would have been generated on the unit to make this important contribution to our efforts. They have a finite number of units and therefore operations and maintenance costs must be covered by a smaller number of productive elements of the facility.
In addition, the value of the donation is exponentially increased by enabling the SCC to collect books throughout the year, when it is convenient for the donors and to sort and preposition books well before the annual sale. And it is an added incentive when our many volunteers know that local businesses are sharing in their thoughtful efforts to give back to the community.
To make "good will" sustainable and credible, it has to be reciprocal in a sense that the relationship is acknowledged in some way not in direct reimbursement or compensation but in the exercise of preferences that bind elements of a community together. The fact that it is purely voluntary, and not dictated by a sense of obligation, makes it much more attractive and rewarding. "Buying locally" or "brand loyalty" are several conceptualizations that come close, but don't completely define it. There used to be such terms as "patient capital", which is seldom used now or "paying it forward" -- that come closer. It is the essential force that generates cohesion and shared-identity in a community and part of what makes Shepherdstown such a special place.
We would simply like to acknowledge this particular contribution by a new company in our community and encourage others that have been making such efforts to continue and to generate a subtle form of peer group pressure among all of us who live and work here to keep it going. We all benefit. So thanks, AAAA Storage and welcome to Shepherdstown.
The Shepherdstown Community Club Board of Directors