Would you like to make your community a better place? Sure you would! But if you run a small business, you might feel you can’t afford to.
Assuming your time and money are tight, we’ve scoured the Internet to find small ways that small businesses can contribute. Suggestions abound from scores of sources, including Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com. SmallBizTrends.com and Quickbooks.Intuit.com.
We have eliminated all the obvious ones, like put a collection jar on the counter, and we’ve added new ones of our own. The list is biased in favor of giving locally, inspired by Theodore Roosevelt’s famous exhortation: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
If you have a suggestion to share, please leave it in the comments to inspire others.
Collaborate on a group project. If you belong to a local trade group, business association or Chamber of Commerce, suggest that the group spearhead a giving back initiative, such as a food, coat, book or toy drive. The group selects the charity and provides a drop-off location. Members companies promote the drive to their employees and customers, collect the goods and take them to the drop-off location.
Buy an extra ticket for a nonprofit. If you attend business or community events, purchase one extra ticket and invite a local nonprofit leader to come as your guest. Introduce your guest to the people in your network, saying, “I’d like you to meet my friend Janet. Her nonprofit does great work helping…” Add value by posting a photo of you and your guest on social media, with text saying who she is and what her nonprofit does.
Provide incentives for donations. Choose a company rule you could bend for a good cause. Encourage employees to “buy” a bye-week from the rule by making a donation to a nonprofit that the business supports. For example, anyone who donates $20 can come to work wearing flip-flops or jeans or both that week. Take pictures to share on social media.
Buy from other small businesses. Look at your vendor list. Are you purchasing from giant national companies when you could buy local for a few dollars more? Set an example, then spread the word in your business networks. Bonus: Maybe some potential customers that have been buying from your large competitors will decide to buy from you instead.
Offer your expertise on-call. You may be unable to leave work long enough to volunteer off-site or serve on a nonprofit board or committee. But you could offer to help your favorite nonprofit by phone or email. Let the executive director know the type of expertise you can provide. Be as responsive as you can when he needs assistance or advice.
Let nonprofits use your facilities. Do you have a conference room, training room or other space that your company is not using 24/7? There is probably a local nonprofit that could benefit from using your facilities, perhaps before or after regular business hours. Let them know you can provide a free space in which to meet, train volunteers or entertain donors.
Buy school supplies along with office supplies. Under-funded schools in struggling neighborhoods often lack sufficient classroom supplies. Offer to purchase needed supplies for one classroom, a grade or the entire school, up to the dollar amount you can afford. Get the school’s wish list. Set up online ordering from your office supply vendor. Make the school an alternate “deliver to” address. Every time you place an order for your business, add items from the wish list for direct delivery to the school. It’s just one more way to make a community contribution.
We love helping businesses of any size to realize the benefits of giving back: building your brand, creating an emotional connection for prospects, increasing customer loyalty, attracting new employees and retaining valuable employees. Can we help you? Call 484.829.0021 or email [email protected].