For most large corporations, giving back is an ingrained part of company culture. They routinely sponsor national organizations and it’s no surprise to see them present a check worth tens of thousands (or more).
As a small business, your philanthropic budget is likely a bit smaller. And that’s probably a laughable understatement.
But if you’re thinking that giving back is something only big companies need to do, or that you don’t have enough funds available to make it worthwhile, think again.
Giving back is essential for all businesses, no matter the size.
Why? It comes down to corporate social responsibility, which is increasingly important for businesses.
Research has found that 91% of millennials and 85% of the general population would switch brands to one associated with a cause.
Plus, two-thirds of millennials (66%) and 53% of the general population use social media to engage around corporate social responsibility. That means in addition to using social media to share and learn, many are using it as a way to communicate with businesses and become involved with corporate efforts to be socially responsible.
With stats like that, you can’t afford not to give back!
We’ve got some tips to help your small business give back without breaking the bank.
Give a Little at a Time
Just because you can’t hand over a million dollar check doesn’t mean your donation won’t be of use. Consistently donating a small percentage of profits or fees to charity will add-up over time.
And to make that donation go further, rather than giving to a national charity, think about a cause that’s closer to home. Smaller charities will undoubtedly appreciate any amount you can give them.
Keeping your donations local is also a way to build respect and a positive reputation in your community. And strong community ties offer businesses a competitive advantage.
Give Back with Your Time
Whether you know it or not, you’ve gained a wealth of knowledge and expertise as a small business owner. Charities are regularly in need of talent but don’t always have the resources or the funds for services.. So put your valuable skills to use by donating time to help others.
For example, web designers could redesign the website of a nonprofit organization, or accountants could instruct a class that offers financial tips to young families or seniors.
Donating your time is also a great way to make new connections and gain fresh inspiration.
Hold a Charity Drive
If you’re short on time and money, a charity drive to collect food or clothing might be the answer.
And with 39.7 million people in the US living in poverty in 2017, there is an unfortunate dire need for clothing and food donations in many communities.
Contact your local food bank or shelter to find out what items they need most at different times of the year. Collecting books for local libraries or school supplies are other charity drive options.
Remember to share information about the charity drive on social media and encourage followers to drop off donations. Offer an incentive to attract donations, such as having a prize draw at the end with the names of everyone who has contributed.
Give Back as a Team
Give back to the community and have a chance to do some team building. It’s a win-win situation.
Volunteering for organizations like Habitat for Humanity, helping serve meals at a local shelter, or planting trees in the community are examples of ways to give back while strengthening the bond amongst your team. Not only does it support a worthy cause, but volunteering together can also enhance team morale, which in turn increases workplace productivity.
Remember that you want your team to be motivated and enthused to participate so be sure to include them in deciding how and where to volunteer. Encourage your team to get involved in the process by having them suggest causes to get involved with and holding a draw or vote to determine the final selection. You could even give the decision to a employee as a reward for outstanding work.
Sponsor an Event
This option involves a bit more investment, but if you have the resources available, getting involved with a local event is a fantastic way to give back. Pick an event that aligns well with your business and involve your team in the decision.
Once you’ve found an event, don’t just write a check and be done with it. Find out what sponsorship opportunities exist that would be the best fit for your business. For example, if your company handles marketing consider sponsoring an event’s marketing initiatives.
And if the event hands out swag bags, don’t pass up the chance to donate some branded water bottles or hats. It’s a great way to increase the visibility of your brand. After all, who doesn’t like getting free stuff?
No matter how you choose to give back, you won’t regret it. As much as giving back is good for business, it’s also good for the soul.
As Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”