You don’t have to be a large corporation with a budget in the millions in order to look for ways to give back to your local community. Even businesses of one can build philanthropy into their models and use their business as a tool for contributing to society.
Before we get into ways to give back, let’s take a step back. Why it is worth your money — and time — to give back locally
As Entrepreneur shares, it builds a positive reputation for you and your business, makes your community a better place to live, and helps you to form connections within your municipality. Not only that, but giving back is a way to establish your business within the local community and give it more visibility. Depending on how you do it, it be used as a form of advertising.
Bringing attention to your business while building a positive reputation? Sounds like a win-win for everyone!
8 ways to give back to your local community
Whatever your motivation, here are eight ways to use your business to give back to your local community:
Sponsor a fundraiser.
Donate your skills.
Host a volunteer day for employees.
Offer donation matching.
Sponsor a sports team.
Share your space.
Donate to a silent auction.
Highlight a local organization.
Ready to start making a difference for both your business and your local community? Read on!
1. Sponsor a fundraiser
Is there a popular event that occurs within your city or town? Consider donating money to help offset the cost or donate products that can be given away to participants.
For example, any business can put a label with their company’s logo on bottles of water or snacks for race participants.
As a bonus, in exchange your business might get to have a physical presence, giving it more visibility and increasing those positive vibes within your community. See? Looking for ways to give back can be great advertising.
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2. Donate your skills
If you are service-based business owner, look to pro bono work for ways to give back. Say you’re an interior decorator. Consider lending a few hours of your time to the local recreation center to help them to decorate their space. Are you a musician? Give a concert to patients at your local hospital.
As a product-based business, the skills you share might be related more generally to running a business. Did you build your eCommerce website? Host a workshop for your local artists’ association on making a website to promote and sell their work. Are you a wiz at content marketing? Share at your local chamber of commerce how blogging can help other small business owners to grow their business.
3. Host a volunteer day for employees
Get your employees into the spirit of giving back. Partner with local nonprofit organizations or your municipality and have a volunteer day where your employees help out in the community instead of coming into work.
Here’s more inspiration for ways to give back:
- Is there a local park or playground that needs sprucing up?
- Does your city have a shelter where you could serve meals?
- Can you hang out with kids after school while their parents attend a workshop?
Bonus points if your business is sponsoring or hosting the workshop. Not only will a volunteer day give your company more visibility, it could encourage team bonding and boost morale among your employees.
4. Offer donation matching
Choose a local charity, or have your employees vote on one, and offer to match their monetary donations up to a specific amount to that organization. To encourage participation, create a visual where everyone can see how much employees have contributed.
5. Sponsor a sports team
Does your municipality have youth sports leagues? Consider sponsoring a team! As the National Alliance for Youth Sports shares, there are many benefits for businesses sponsoring youth teams. These include keeping the cost of these programs down for the kids, and building goodwill by showing that your business understands the positive impact of youth sports.
Alternatively, if you have a product-based business, donate items to the team, such as pizza for kids to enjoy after a game or T-shirts for them to wear at their games.
6. Share your space
If your business has a physical space, offer it free of charge for an event or meeting. Not only does this helps nonprofits save money, it’s another way to give your business visibility — since it brings people right into your space.
7. Donate to a silent auction
You might not have the funds to help write off the costs of a fundraiser, but donating a product or service to silent auction can be one of the most rewarding ways to give back.
8. Highlight a local organization
Have a designated day or evening where a percentage of proceeds go to a specific local charity. Are you a barber? Host a day when anyone who brings in their kids to your salon to get their hair cut gets a portion donated to that child’s school. Do you own a restaurant? Plan a night when anyone who brings in a flier gets a portion of what they spend on their meal donated to buy books for the town library.
Advertise the event with fliers ahead of time at your business and on social media to draw attention — which benefits both your business and the organization you are helping. You might even see an increase in sales as that organization encourages people in its network to patronize your business.
Even if you sell products online, you can still employ this method.
Send out an email to your newsletter subscribers in advance of the event, and highlight it on the home page of your website and within product listings. Be sure to share it on social media, tagging the organization, so that they know what you’re doing. The organization might be inclined to share what you are doing with their own followers!
Make a difference
No matter how you decide to use your business for ways to give back locally, you can have a long-lasting impact on your community while building a positive reputation. And remember, every bit helps — whether you sponsor a race or donate a few hours of your specialized skills.