As a small business owner, you’ve worked hard to establish your reputation as a local staple in your town or city. To help foster your business’s ties to the community it’s important to find creative ways to give back.
Data shows that 75% of small businesses donate 6% of their profits each year to charitable causes. While this is an impressive testament to the generosity of small business owners, there’s more to giving back than making a monetary donation.
This guide will cover several creative ways your organization can give back to your community, as well as provide real-world success stories so you can see what works.
What Are Some Creative Ways to Give Back?
Every neighborhood is different, so each of the following forward-thinking strategies is unique and can be custom-tailored to meet the needs of your individual community.
#1 Support Your Fellow Small Businesses
Local businesses can strengthen their local economies — and help each other out — by banding together. Try stocking your shelves with locally made products, or offering discounts to customers who show a receipt from another community partner. Even simple things like ‘liking’ posts on social media or giving recommendations on Nextdoor can make a difference.
#2 Get Your Employees Involved
Shake things up and host a company-wide day of service. Enlist your employees’ help planting trees, cleaning up a public space, or bringing food to a local food bank or homeless shelter. No matter what cause you decide to support, your employees will appreciate the change of pace, and they’ll respect your commitment to giving back to your community.
#3 Donate Your Products or Services
Although donating money can be a great way to lend a helping hand (and it’s beneficial when tax season rolls around), offering your products or services to members of your community who need them can also make a huge impact.
Restaurant owners can donate meals to feed frontline workers or a homeless shelter, while retailers can donate goods to clothing drives for a local charity. Even simple acts of generosity like providing t-shirts to your local little league team is a great way to show how much you care.
It also doubles as a marketing strategy if you include your branding.
The Nesting Box Market and Creamery, located in Albany Township, PA is a perfect example of a business generously donating its goods. In February of 2020, they began donating 150 eggs a month to the Parkland Cares Food Pantry to provide community members in need with fresh, locally raised food. In return for this generosity, they received high praise and positive mentions in the press.
#4 Say Thank You With Discounts
The hard-working members of your community deserve a little gratitude every once in a while. Express gratitude for the great things your customers do by offering discounts to people making a positive impact.
Take a look at these groups who could always use an extra thank you:
- Police officers
This is just the tip of the iceberg. You can even offer discounts for birthdays, anniversaries, or simply because you want to brighten someone’s day.
Douglas Cleaners, located in Birmingham, MI, decided to make a difference by offering free dry cleaning for peoples’ interview outfits. Since many job seekers have faced difficulty durning this global pandemic, the owners decided to show their appreciation for people trying to get back on their feet.
Another approach is giving discounts to customers who donate money to a specific cause or local charity. Not only does this help your business give back, but it also makes your community more giving and generous as a whole.
#5 Host an Event (In-Person or Virtually)
Your business can be more than just a place of commerce—it can also be a gathering place where neighbors come to enjoy a sense of community. Try hosting:
- Neighborhood mixers
- Happy hours
- Local performances
- Events to showcase the work of neighborhood artists
- Fundraiser dinners
- Community game nights
Online events are great alternatives when in-person events aren’t safe or possible. Share your event on Nextdoor to make sure your neighbors stay in the loop.
#6 Help Your Neighbors Network
Helping your community members connect with each other is another opportunity to give back. If you hear about someone in need, spread the word. If you know someone who’s looking for a job, as well as someone who’s hiring, connect them.
No matter how small it may seem, every time you help make a community connection, you’re giving back. With Nextdoor, you can even give special shoutouts on your Business Page to help spread kindness in your community.
#7 Go Green
Keep your community beautiful, healthy, and eco-friendly by committing to more sustainable business practices. Let your customers know you’re working to reduce waste, or set up a communal composting station. You can even turn going green into an event by gathering volunteers to pick up litter or start a community garden.
Peace Coffee in Minneapolis, MI, is a leader in eco-friendly business practices. They've been doing local deliveries via bicycle since 1998. They’ve also committed to making their office a green oasis with solar panels, geothermal heating, and a rooftop garden.
You don’t have to make huge changes to make a difference—upping your recycling game or switching to biodegradable packaging are great first steps.
Why Giving Back Matters
In a world filled with franchises, big-box retailers, and eCommerce giants, many people are drawn to the personalized feeling that comes from local businesses. By giving back to your local community, you deepen this sense of connection and make a difference in other people’s lives. Giving back demonstrates how much you care about your customers and community.
Plus, giving back is great for business.
How Can Giving Back Help Boost Business?
Good deeds aside, giving back is important from a business perspective for three main reasons:
- Stronger customer relationships – You want your customers to see your business as more than just a place to shop, eat, or purchase services. Going the extra mile to demonstrate your brand’s values can be a powerful tool. A great way to do this is by paying attention to your community members’ needs.
Whether it’s helping someone through a difficult time, celebrating a special moment, or showcasing a local hero, getting involved means you’ll get to know people beyond just checking them out at the register.
- Improved employee morale – Studies show that companies who actively pursue social and environmental outreach initiatives have more engaged workers. When your employees are happy, their positive attitudes often spill over into every aspect of your business—after all, positivity is contagious.
- Consumers value social responsibility – These days, consumers care about where they spend their money. In fact, 82% of consumers take social responsibility into consideration when they shop. Giving back shows your business cares about the needs of the community.
Spread the Word of Good Deeds With Nextdoor
Giving back is an intimate way to connect with your local community. Show that your local business is all about that connection by claiming your free Business Page on Nextdoor — a platform built for neighborhood connection.
By claiming a Nextdoor business page, you’ll be able to directly connect with nearby customers. Once you’ve decided how your business is going to make a difference, Nextdoor is an easy and efficient way to create some buzz about promotions, fundraisers, and events.
Most importantly, Nextdoor is hyper-local. Every neighbor is verified by their address, so you can rest assured knowing your efforts are being directed where they’re supposed to.
Keep Giving, Growing, and Thriving
As a local business owner, your to-do list can seem never-ending. Hopefully, these ideas will inspire you to put giving back on the top of your list. Just by being a small business, you’re already helping to make your local community special. By following the tips above, you’ll be doing even more to create the kind of neighborhood people and businesses thrive in.
Score.com. Home10 Ways Small Businesses Can Give Back To The Community
10 Ways Small Businesses Can Give Back To The Community https://www.score.org/blog/10-ways-small-businesses-can-give-back-community
Business News Daily. Small Business Guide to Charitable Giving and Tax Deductions. https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/10470-small-business-guide-charity-donations.html
Big Commerce. Double Your Bottom Line: How Giving Back Boosts Business. https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/double-bottom-line-giving-back-can-boost-business/#3-remember-your-employees-see-giving-as-a-high-priority
The Morning Call. Health care and city workers, animal advocates, bakers and more: Here are the women Morning Call readers nominated as difference-makers in the Lehigh Valley. https://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-nws-lehigh-valley-women-20210330-ic5yhgllc5dtfpna6valcc3u5q-list.html
The Jewish News. Small Businesses Give Back. https://thejewishnews.com/2021/04/02/small-businesses-give-back/
Civil Eats. 10 Most Sustainable Coffee Businesses in the United States. https://civileats.com/2016/10/12/most-sustainable-coffee-businesses-in-the-united-states/
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