Your business doesn't have to be big to give back.
Large companies are increasingly putting resources and focus around Corporate Social Responsibility. A regimented process around a developed CSR program shouldn’t be limited to big business. The benefits of CSR programs for small businesses include improved employee morale, networking opportunities, increased brand awareness and impact in your community. A study conducted by Cone Communications found that 85 percent of consumers would leave their current brand for another that is associated with a cause they care about. Yet for many small businesses that lack the resources of a larger corporation it can feel daunting, or impossible, to implement a structured CSR program or giving initiative.
However, there are ways to easily create an impact in your community. Here are five ideas of how your small business can give back:
Schedule volunteer days for the whole team
Volunteering as a team improves employee engagement and teamwork by strengthening communication skills and bonding between employees. A UnitedHealth Group study found that 81 percent of employees who engaged in a volunteer effort coordinated by their workplace agreed that volunteering together strengthens relations among colleagues. Take a day each quarter to close down your office and pay employees to volunteer. Provide opportunities at two or three organizations in need and have them volunteer together in small teams. If shutting your doors for one day isn’t an option consider a weekend project, such as one facilitated by Habitat for Humanity, where the whole team can work together on a project.
Sponsor a nonprofit’s event
According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics there are more than 1 million nonprofits is the United States. Find a nonprofit operating in your community and reach out to the organization’s leadership to find out sponsorship opportunities available for an upcoming fundraising event. It isn’t enough to simply donate financially – show up with your team at the event to show your support. Underwriting and attending an event not only allows your business to be exposed to that nonprofit’s donors thus creating a potential new customer base, but also provides networking opportunities with other benefactors.
Host a charity drive
An easy CSR initiative that any business can do is hosting a charity drive. Need never takes a break – there are always organizations in need of supplies be it for the cause they are committed too or even office supplies. Have your business host a coat, shoe, or book drive. Set up a collection bin at your workplace and for a month asks employees to bring in the necessary supplies.
If a local nonprofit is in need of office supplies, next time you order for your own office purchase a few extra reams of paper or pens and donate them to the nonprofit. With office supplies donated, nonprofits can focus more of their dollars on their cause.
You can take your charity drive one step further by involving your customers. Ask the people who frequent your business to donate supplies or contribute financially. Don’t forget the tax benefits.
Donate a portion of your proceeds
Create a special product with a portion of sales benefiting a specific cause or allocate 10 percent of all sales during a specific period of time to a local organization in need. Post signs around your office and inform your clients or customers of the initiative.
Share your skills
No doubt you have talented team members. Use their skills to your community’s benefit. Perhaps someone in your office is a whiz at Microsoft Office, another is excellent at Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop or someone else has a fantastic cataloguing system for office supplies. Reach out to a nonprofit and see if they would have any interest in improving these skills. Ask those in your office that possess that skillset to dedicate an hour a week teaching the nonprofit employees. Sharing skills with others is a great way for your business to become connected with a local nonprofit and gives employees an opportunity to teach their skills – always helpful should they need to train someone in-house.