It has been said that giving is one of the greatest joys in life; that helping others is the ultimate source of fulfillment. I think most of us know it to be true. Think of the swell of happiness you felt when you gave someone a gift they really loved; think how good it felt to volunteer your time for a good cause. All of this good stuff does not just apply to individuals. Businesses should also give more thought to how your small business can give back to their local communities, or the world at large.
Charitable giving is mutually beneficial—it can improve your professional reputation, which is never a bad thing, and you can score some karmic brownie points. As a small business owner, you may feel you are lacking funds and/or time for philanthropic pursuits, but there is always a way to do something that is within your means. So, here are some tips to get you on the charity bandwagon.
A Little Bit Can Go a Long Way
You do not have to be able to do donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to make a difference in this world. Perhaps, you can commit to donating five percent of revenue from each project you complete or your sales for the month. Pick one charity, or a new one each month; in instances where you are doing a project for a client, perhaps let them decide. This definitely benefits your business as many people would be more inclined to buy your products and services, knowing a portion of their payment was going towards a good cause.
Get on a Local Non-Profit Board
When it comes to doing good for others, money is not the only thing many organizations need—they also require people who can donate their time. If there are non-profit organizations in your area that can benefit from your professional knowledge, look into getting on the board. The assistance you can provide is immeasurable and it will not cost you a dime.
Offer Services for Free
You are really good at something, so good that you decided to run a small business and have people pay you to perform this service. There are probably plenty of organizations or individuals out there who can greatly benefit from your offer to perform them free of charge. If you run a printing service, perhaps you can offer free brochures to a local charity. Know a lot about putting together websites and writing content? Offer to tweak its website.
Coordinate Your Own Drive or Collection
If you are not seeing any opportunities to donate anything, set up your own donation. It is pretty simple. You can collect food, clothing, school supplies or anything else you think would benefit particular members of your community. A few fliers, a message on your website, and a sign in your store are just a few of the simple ways you can get the word out.
Create a Free Version of Services for Deserving Clients
Many types of businesses frequently receive requests for pro bono work. It is a great thing for a business to do, but if the requests are frequent, it can really take away the time you and your employees need to devote to your paying clients. If you want to continue to offer this kind of help but do not have the time, consider setting up a free version of the service. If you build websites, for example, consider putting together an automatic site builder program that organizations can put in an application to receive. If you are providing free consulting for marketing or some other service, consider putting together a packet of information that you can give to qualified organizations that come to you for help.