Generosity comes in many forms, from writing a check to a favorite charity or helping a friend make the right connection to get a job. For many people, donating time or money is a personal experience that provides deep satisfaction, but giving doesn’t stop there. Each year, more small businesses are finding ways to make a difference in their communities. Nearly half of small businesses donate to charities and/or encourage employee volunteerism and of those that do, 90% support local causes. This commitment to community benefits everyone and there are many ways to give.
If your small business has never made a donation or giving commitment before, sponsorship is a good place to start. Sponsorship opportunities encompass a wide range of non-profit charities and organizations, such as youth sports teams, bicycle or running events, theater programs, the local PTA, and more. Find an activity or event that you are passionate about and ask about sponsorship opportunities. There are often various levels of giving options, which can include money, but also services or products. Most organizations seeking sponsors have co-sponsor or multiple sponsor opportunities, so you don’t have to make a budget-breaking commitment. Each gift, no matter how small, can have a big impact on your community.
Many charitable organizations host fundraiser events and are always looking for interesting items or services for their silent auction. When donating, be creative when selecting your offering and you will be remembered long after the event is over. Theming your donation to the event can make it memorable, but you can also package a gift certificate for your services in an eye-catching way to stand out from the crowd. Donating an item for an auction may seem like a small thing, but to the event organizers and the charity they serve, it means the world.
Helping someone achieve their dream is always rewarding and many small businesses are offering scholarships to make this happen. You don’t have to cover someone’s tuition to make a difference. Every scholarship dollar can defray the cost of food, housing, books, and technologies, making the person’s path to success a little smoother. 1-800-Foundation is a Houston-based company that has provided scholarships to students pursuing degrees from two year, four year and graduate programs across the county. This ongoing commitment began 27 years ago and has made a difference in the lives of countless people.
Donations, sponsorships, and scholarships are excellent ways to give, but some business owners and their employees prefer a more hands-on approach. Volunteering is a wonderful way to make a personal connection with the people in your community and can encompass a huge variety of activities. Find one that fits your interests or create a new volunteering event that highlights something you are passionate about. This could include: cleaning up a park, working at a food pantry, collecting for Toys for Tots, providing free haircuts for the homeless, and so much more. Create a company-wide commitment to volunteering by offering your staff paid time off to volunteer for an event of their choice or encourage them to support the company-selected cause.
Share Your Space
One resource that you can give might be one that you overlook – your space. Do you have an unused area that could be used for meetings or to store food or clothing drive items? Something as simple as hosting a fundraising event can have a huge impact. For example, some stores or art galleries might offer their space for an event and give a portion of the sales to the sponsored charity. Restaurants and bars might offer a space for free or at a significant discount for other a charitable gala, party or luncheon. And what about your storefront? Groups like the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts are always looking for a great location to sell their popcorn and cookies. Sharing your space provides a great service and will make an impact on those you helped.
When Disaster Strikes
In any community, disasters can be devastating, whether they come in the form of a child experiencing a debilitating illness or a tornado, flood, or other natural events. Collecting funds to help those recovering from any type of disaster is always meaningful, but sometimes taking that extra step can have a more immediate impact. Providing meals and clothing for people who have lost their homes, offering safe, temporary shelter from a storm, or helping families rebuild their houses will have a long-term and unforgettable impact on both you and those you served.
Giving back to the community is one of the best ways for a small business to truly be a part of it. Your generosity can take many forms, and evolve over time to meet new needs or focus on something that truly speaks to you and your team. You don’t have to give a lot to make a huge impact, so don’t hesitate to start small. The most important thing is to give.