Why Small Businesses Should Give Back
Often, when discussing companies giving back to their communities or getting involved in philanthropy, the conversation tends to dwell on huge multinational corporations with thousands of employees and millions of dollars at their disposal.
In reality, the vast majority of the businesses in the United States are small businesses, and they employ over 50% of the nation’s workers. While smaller businesses may not be able to match the massive amounts donated by huge corporations, that certainly doesn’t mean they can’t have a substantial impact on their local communities in the long run. There are also some very good side benefits for small businesses that engage in giving back.
Giving Back is Good Publicity
Positive publicity – especially in a social media world where any story can be shared – is invaluable for a small business. And while you may dutifully send announcements out to local publications and TV stations every time you launch a new product or run a promotion, they’re simply not going to cover every one of those stories.
But when your small business is doing something of value for the community – whether that involves donating money, products, services, or your time as volunteers – it becomes a good news story that any local media outlet is going to be interested in.
As an example, a small tire franchise in northern Utah received national coverage on Forbes.com recently because they were regular participants in a local annual Coats for Kids community event. If they hadn’t earned a well-deserved reputation for giving back in their community, you may never have heard of Burt Brothers Tires. But now the company has the support of a major media outlet.
You can’t buy that kind of publicity with an ad.
Your Employees Will Appreciate It
It feels good to work for a company that cares. As a small business, most of your employees are likely from the same community, so many local causes will be close to their hearts.
This makes giving back to the community a strong team-building and morale-boosting experience for everyone involved.
You have many different options for helping your employees get involved in giving, such as:
- Close your business for a day to organize a “Volunteer Day” where everyone reports to an organized volunteer event instead of work.
- Encourage your employees to suggest various causes that they are passionate about, then decide as a group the best way to support them.
- Set up simple means by which employees can give financially through an online philanthropy platform. This provides simple and intuitive access for any small business to set up a branded webpage to collect charitable donations via credit card.
By involving your employees and encouraging them to give back to the community, you provide an opportunity for them to work toward a common goal that’s outside the normal daily commercial pursuits, and you give them a chance to make a difference in the community that they may not have been able to accomplish on their own.
Your Customers Appreciate It Too
It’s not just employees who benefit when a small business gives back to the community. Customers appreciate it too, and locals may even make buying decisions based on how involved your company is in the community.
The goodwill that positive publicity creates can certainly influence current and prospective customers for any small business. But it doesn’t have to stop there.
Here are few ways you can directly involve your customers in your giving program:
- Set up a change jar for donations or another quick and simple giving resource for walk-in customers to take advantage of, and talk to them about it while they’re there.
- Invite your customers to donate on your site, both through visible signage at your place of business and via email and social media.
- Invite customers to join your employees at planned events. If there’s plenty of work to do, why not bring in more hands to help out?
- Pick a specific time period – say, 6:00pm to 9:00pm every Wednesday – during which a percentage of every purchase will be given to a charitable cause. Actively promote this event so customers who care can plan their purchases accordingly.
These are just a few reasons why small businesses should be interested in giving back to their communities through planned giving and volunteering efforts, and each business has its own unique ways for how they can participate. So take some time to plan out a solid, strategic giving program and start giving back today!