Businesses, large and small, frequently receive requests to support local causes and events. While large businesses may have a portion of their budgets allocated to support local causes, small businesses oftentimes have the desire but not the funds, making charitable giving a challenge. However, giving back is more than donating funds; it is supporting the communities we serve with resources that create a positive impact.
Customers are loyal to businesses that are involved in programs that support their local community. Even if small businesses are not able to write a big check, they can still be good corporate citizens by supporting local causes and creating mutually beneficial collaborations.
One of the first steps to giving back is learning about the opportunities available. Conducting research will help assure that the charity you support has a commitment to standards and accountability and will use your time and talents effectively and ethically. Because not all charities are created equal, ask for details on its programs, finances and governance. Use BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance evaluations on nationally-soliciting charities for free at www.bbb.org/charity.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers three tips on how small businesses can support the communities they serve on a small budget:
Donate Time: Know what your company and its employees can offer. Consider staff members’ skills and what services they would be particularly well-equipped to provide. From volunteering at a local food bank to helping construct a home, a small business can not only offer volunteers, but also expertise that many charitable causes will value.
Donate Resources: Think outside the box. The most common ways to support local causes are donating funds or providing volunteers; however, be creative with your resources and consider offering services, equipment or space. Share your expertise on a project, offer to print flyers for an upcoming event, or make your conference room available for meetings.
Donate Support: Encourage staff to participate in company-backed volunteering efforts. Much of the great work charities provide to their communities is made possible by volunteers. Support staff volunteering in groups or teams—not only does it provide a great service, it also enhances team building, staff cohesiveness and community awareness.