Getting off the ground can be difficult as a small business. Its often too much too soon to think about giving back to the community.
However, this might change as your company grows. Nowadays, nearly every business is getting involved in social causes, because the benefits are endless.
It keeps both employees and customers happy. It assists your marketing efforts and introduces you to new networking opportunities. You can even benefit financially. In this article I will explain what your business can gain from giving back to the community, as well as ways in which you can do it.
Giving to charity
Donations are a great way to give back. They are simple, and require little effort on your part. If you are a growing business, then donating to smaller, local charities can make your money go further. Small donations will still have big effects.
Have your business follow what charities themselves are doing. Donating to a diverse range of causes is an excellent way to help. Some charities that do this are the Turner-Kirk Charitable Trust, founded by Patricia Turner, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Leverhulme Trust. All three support many different causes.
Amazon similarly allows shoppers to donate to different charitable causes through its AmazonSmile program. Diverse donations show your company cares about an array of causes. This allows you to have a wide reach among consumers. Employees respect companies that care for their community. It makes them happier to work for you. This boost in morale will lead to a more productive team.
It also makes your marketing pack a punch. Social causes sell. They can be especially powerful when you donate to causes that are associated with your brand. Toms, for example, pioneered the buy one give one model, donating one pair of shoes for each one sold.
Get the team involved
Another, more hands-on, way you can give something back is by offering paid volunteering days. In a report by City Philanthropy, 53% of people under 35 said they want to volunteer more than they do. According to a study by SHRM, 1 in 4 employers in the US now offer paid volunteering days. And these companies are clearly on to something.
The benefits are greater than team morale alone. Companies who offer these schemes report less sick days on average, meaning more productivity in the company. Volunteering could also lead to your employees learning new skills and becoming more rounded people, which is never a bad thing for any business. If your staff volunteer together, it can even lead to a better bond within the team.
This is just another way to make your staff feel as though theyre part of something. Todays workforce doesnt want to feel like another cog in the machine, wasting away in their cubicle. They want to do good, and employers who allow them will be rewarded.
Share your experiences
Another way to give back is by sharing your skills with the community. As a business owner, you possess valuable knowledge thats worth sharing.
Set up workshops teaching the know-how needed to succeed in your field. If you are a software developer, you could teach coding classes to disadvantaged groups for example. You could also have your management lead seminars or lectures on topics related to your industry or business more generally.
Rather than doing this by yourself, reach out to local non-profits and offer help. A web designer might be able to create a website for a small charity, or perhaps a journalist could promote them in a local publication. Think outside the box. Use your position to help out and reap the rewards.
Theres a myriad of benefits in becoming more sustainable. Simple things like reducing waste by digitisation, using LED bulbs and getting rid of using disposable utensils can go a long way to becoming a greener company.
When looking at the big picture, every business can reduce waste in their supply chain. While its hard to give tips for every business, you might want to look at production and packaging. Also, be careful when partnering with other companies and make sure they take the same steps.
Not only will this benefit the community by reducing pollution and waste production, but it can also help you financially. Most governments offer monetary incentives such as tax breaks to companies willing to reduce their carbon footprint. Why not kill two birds with one stone?
The writing is on the wall. Companies who dont give back to the community, either locally or globally, will suffer in the next decade. The capital investment is far outweighed by the return you receive. Employee morale, a more skilled workforce and better marketing material are the primary benefits. Take a leaf from the book of companies that are doing it right.