How a Small Business Can Benefit from Giving Back

Of course, giving back feels great. But many businesses struggle to find the time, or resources, to interrupt a work day in the name of charity.

Here’s something that might help: by giving back, you’re also positioning your company for success. The lost wages and productivity from one afternoon of office-wide volunteer work can have massive returns. But how?

New Connections

Charity work is a great way to network with like-minded businesses. While you’re making connections with other companies that share your philanthropic outlook, you’re making an impression in your community, too.

Try it. Hold a 5k fun-run to benefit your local soup kitchen. You can encourage the community – along with other local businesses — to participate.

Build Brand Reputation

Social responsibility is becoming more and more valuable in today’s world, especially among Millennials. When a company shares its values – like giving back – it creates an opportunity for clients to connect with it, not just on a professional level, but on a personal, moral level. That kind of relationship is the foundation for loyalty.

Try it. Set up an office volunteer clean-up crew, and schedule regular visits – along with branded tees – to local beaches and parks.

Employee Retention

Simply put, employees like working for someone with moral character. If you care about giving back to the community, chances are you care about the well-being of your employees too. That message will come across loud and clear in your work environment.

Try it. Open up the company parking lot for a cash wash to benefit a local boys and girls charity. Make it a team-building exercise by creating big, colourful posters in the morning and set up the car wash after lunch.

How to give back this holiday season

It’s the season of giving. But between work, family, friends and holiday parties, you might not have much time or energy left to give.

The good news? Giving back doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. Recruit your co-workers’ help. And then consider any of these options.

Holiday Giving

If you can spare an afternoon

Does your workplace hold a Holiday party during office hours? Consider using a part of that afternoon to visit a soup kitchen. Chances are, you’ll find it more fulfilling than overeating the annual holiday cheese ball.

If you can spare a full day

Contact a local shelter or donation centre and ask if they could use a few extra hands. Many charities are looking for more volunteers around the holidays. You can also go through a volunteer organization to find the right match.

If you can spare only a few hours

At this time of year, the homeless are especially vulnerable. Get your coworkers together to do a soup, socks and coffee run. Hand these out in your city centre, or any area around town with a large homeless population.

If you can spare some funds

An office fundraiser is a great way to give back if you’re too time-strapped to volunteer. This can take two forms. Option one is to become the office fundraiser; pick a charity, then send out an office-wide email asking for contributions. The second is to host a bake sale; ask each coworker to contribute a dish, and donate what’s raised to a local charity.

If you can spare coats or non-perishables

Winter clothes can be a big expense for low-income households. And no one should go hungry during the holidays. Set up two bins at the front of the office — one for winter clothes like hats, mittens and coats, and the other for non-perishables — then put up posters around the office asking for donations. Choose a cut-off date for donations, then take the items to your local food and clothing bank.

Having trouble choosing a cause? Make it a democracy. Choose a handful of charities and send out an email asking everyone to vote. The popular option wins.