Your community is made up of your business’s biggest asset: your customers!

Not only is it important to provide value as a business owner to your clients through your services, it’s also important to give back charitably to your community.

In this article, I’ll be going over how to add value to your community as a small business owner.

But let’s start by explaining the “why” behind small business giving.

Building Your Community

Donating and volunteering are obviously pretty great endeavors. But giving back to your community can provide your business benefits beyond the warm and fuzzies.

Think of it this way.

In your normal day-to-day, your business gives value to its customers by providing its goods or services. And your customers give value right back to you by trading money for those goods or services.

Together, you and your customers are providing value to the community on a higher level:

  • You are keeping tax dollars inside the community, rather than sending them out to large foreign companies
  • You are improving town reputation, which promotes tourism and future development
  • You are building a sense of unity and camaraderie with your neighbors

It’s all around a win-win!

Continue to build that sense of solidarity with your community by giving back as a small business. Here’s how!

Giving Back: Donate

This is a great place to start. Giving cash, items, and inventory are all ways your service-based business can give back to its community. It’s also a pretty easy, not so time intensive way to show your support.

Don’t be concerned with the dollar amount. Large corporations can make larger donations because of their size, but they are also typically donating to big-name nonprofits. Focus your donation efforts to small local charities where your small-biz-sized donations will have big-biz-sized effects.   

Giving Idea: Host a canned goods drive at your business.

Charities like food pantries are always in need of donations.  Have your employees and customers pitched in during the month of November? Then donate the collected food items to your local food pantry.

Giving Idea: Donate a portion of your profits.

This is a great one because it gets your customers in on the action. Donate a portion of your business’s profits during a set time frame to the charity of your choice. If your customers donate a dollar, match that dollar!

Giving Back: Volunteer

Think of volunteering as donating your time. Many charities and nonprofits need all the help they can get. A set of hands is sometimes all they need!

Giving Idea: Volunteer with your employees.

If you have one or more employees, spend a paid workday volunteering with them instead of working. Not only will this support your community, but it will also build team morale. Some quick ideas: cook meals at a soup kitchen, put on activities at a nursing home, or pick up litter in your local parks.

Giving Idea: Build giving back into your referral program.

You can advertise your business at the same time as supporting your community! Create a referral program where you pledge to volunteer every time you receive a client referral for your service-based business. You could also do this with donations.

Giving Back: Sponsor an Event

This is like a hybrid of donating and volunteering. Have your service-based business add value to your community by sponsoring an event. You get to have your business name and logo plastered all over the promotion materials and decorations, building awareness of your brand, all while providing support to your neighbors.

Giving Idea: Host a fun run.

Pick a cause to raise funds for and host your own 5k run like Relay for Life. You and your employees can volunteer at the event by manning water stations and marking race times.

Giving Idea: Sponsor a sports team.

I don’t expect you to get your logo on a Formula One car. Think… shorter. Sponsor a youth sports team! Provide new uniforms (with your logo on the back) for your local little league team.

Giving Back: Support Other Small Businesses

This is one of my favorite ways to add value to my community: support other small businesses! I try to shop local as much as I can because I know firsthand the struggles of small business owners. It can be as simple as purchasing a local artisan’s soaps for Christmas gifts or signing up for a one-on-one consult with your resident life coach.  

Giving Idea: Donate your services

You already have a great way to support other businesses: your own services! Providing free services, labor, or event space is called an in-kind donation. Put your talents to use while proving some good. For example, donate free haircuts at your local homeless shelter if you run a hair salon.

Giving Idea: Create a scholarship

Supporting education is an overlooked small biz charity opportunity. Partner up with another small business in your area and create a scholarship. You can have it relate to your business or interests or just be a general scholarship for those in your area.

I hope this blog post got you into the giving spirit just in time for the holidays. Giving back to your community doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. Doing your part as a small business owner to support your neighbors is an excellent way to add value to your community.