The phrase “giving back” is not just some tossed about buzzword; many people firmly believe in the value of giving back. And many people appreciate the work of those small businesses that spend the time and effort to give back to their community. Did you know that 75% of companies around the country will donate 10% of their profits per year to a worthy cause? And also, small businesses tend to outspend large companies when it comes to giving back by 250%. Consumers appreciate this; they recognize this, and they respond to it.
But giving back is not just about a check you write or a percentage of profits you donate, nor is it solely about trying to ramp up business by “looking good” in customers’ eyes. Giving back to your local community is about doing something positive and meaningful for the region that helped foster your endeavor.
You can do things right now to start giving back to your community, and they don’t necessarily involve money. Small businesses are facing a difficult time right now—this goes without saying. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get creative about how you show your appreciation for your neighborhood or community. Below are a few ways that you and your team can make a meaningful contribution to your community.
1) Have a volunteer day
The good thing about volunteering for a great cause is that it doesn’t cost any money, and it helps people. You can organize a work-wide volunteer day when you collectively pick a charity or cause, and then you and your team spend the afternoon engaged in volunteer activities designed to help that cause. For example, this could be something along a food collection drive. It could be a neighborhood cleanup day. It may also involve spending the day visiting with senior citizens. Again, get creative here!
2) Teach a free class
Within your company, you may have experts in certain areas. Why not put their expertise to good use. You could organize a class taught at your workplace or an available local venue. Make it accessible to community members and give them something of value. Class ideas (depending on your and your team members’ skillsets) could include small business marketing, web designing, or niche-specific such as a cooking class or home repair and maintenance.
3) Sponsor a local event
The event that you sponsor within your community can take various forms. The key is that it brings people from the community together and allows them to get to know one another. This can be a sporting event, a theater production, a dinner. And don’t necessarily assume you should go it on your own. Talk to other local businesses, get a feel for what they may want to do and whether or not they may want to partner with you on the event.
4. Set up a school supply donation initiative
Teachers are generally in dire need of supplies. And local families may not have the means to purchase all needed for their children before school starts. Organizing a school supply drive can be one way to engage your community and do something significant. Have a day and drop-off location where people can come to donate pencils, paper, notebooks, crayons. You name it. Remember to keep it organized and ensure that all you collect gets to those who need it within the school district.
5. Create a challenge for a cause
Everyone loves to support great causes; combine that with some stimulating activity, and you have a winner. For example, your small business might host a walk-a-thon or bike-a-thon, get crazy, and host a karaoke contest. Here is where you can let your creativity fly!
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