“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: One for helping yourself, the other for helping others” -Audrey Hepburn
If we think of giving back to the communities that have helped and shaped us, we often think of donating to local charities or spending time volunteering at a local NGO in the Philippines. Unfortunately, many of us do not necessarily have expendable wealth that we can freely dispose of nor do many of us have the free time to actually find an NGO to volunteer at. However, if we truly feel like giving back to our local community, there are plenty of ways we can do so—either as an individual or as a small business.
Keep in mind that a small business’s success is often closely tied to the local community. All that considered, remaining an active participant is paramount. Unfortunately, small business owners often struggle in squeezing another minute into their hectic days. More importantly, small businesses that are just starting out may not have enough expendable income for charitable ventures. However, your choices are not necessarily limited to donating money or your time. Keep your options open and make the most out of every opportunity that comes your way. Also, be sure to find ways to motivate your employees and network with other professionals in the community to encourage them to give back a little.
In any case, here are some of the ways you can give back to your community:
1.) Promote Local Businesses
You do not always have to view other local businesses as competition. One of the best and most effective ways to support your community is to help them out. This means buying local as much as possible and dedicating an area of your website to link to your favorite local companies. Be sure to include their contact and address information as well. However, be careful to do cross networking only with non-competing brands and companies who have similar markets and setups as you do. In this way, you will be helping them as much as they will be helping you.
2.) Participate in Holiday Food Drives
Communities typically have food drives during the holidays which means many businesses will be encouraging their employees to bring non-perishable unopened canned and boxed foods. These products will then be donated to local food banks or community pantries which is a fantastic way to help the less fortunate individuals of your community. It requires minimal to no effort at all. You just need to set half an hour aside or so just before the holidays to transport these items to the local drop-off.
3.) Sponsor a Youth Sports Team
If your community has a local youth sports team, there is a likely chance that one of your staff or employees has a child on that same team. Find a local team to sponsor and help them with the funds they need. In exchange, you will get that much-needed exposure and publicity for your support. It is a simple and straightforward way to help out with very minimal time and money investment.
4.) Set Up a Collection Jar
Setting up a collection jar is one of the best ways to support your community that requires no time commitment. More importantly, you do not need to make any financial commitments either. Just choose a local charity that is meaningful to you, your team, and employees and collect money in a high-traffic area in your business. Collect and donate charity as needed.
5.) Hold Contests
Another way to support your community is to hold a contest. Apart from being a way to give back to your community, this is also a way to encourage your employees to have fun and blow off some steam for a while. However, in lieu of monetary cash prizes, ask each employee to choose a local charity that your company will be sponsoring should they win the contest.
6.) Sponsor an Event
Your community is likely to hold events which they will need sponsors for. This is where you can come in as a small business owner. You can either sponsor a participant in a local event which can be an excellent way to show your support. If you have your own employees participating in such events, you may choose to sponsor the event itself and give your business exposure and publicity.
7.) Offer your skills
Apart from your time and money, your skills are also indispensable and valuable. That said, you are likely to have an area of expertise that may be of value to others. With that in mind, consider teaching classes on something that you are good at to local residents. Alternatively, you may want to teach a specialized skill that could be of value to those who have been out of work for quite a while.