Marian Wright Edelman said it and a lot of people know that “Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.”
What business owner do you know with spare time anyway? Yea, I don’t think I can name one. I feel it though, you’re passionate and you want to give back but you want to stay on track with your small business. Maybe you don’t have the time or the money. As a business owner, you want not only the business but also respect of your community, right? So, why not find a way to do something gratifying? Charitable giving is huge in our country for both individuals and businesses (tax exemptions are a small perk) and there are ways everyone can give back, even with a little. Not only is it good for your brand, but you actually make a difference. It makes you feel good and in this post, you’ll learn a few ways to implement service into your small business. Also, get excited as this is the first post of our SPEAK UP! series; using your voice to create and tell your story.
What’s your Purpose?
Your purpose in business may be to provide a service or sell a product but no matter what it is, it benefits you customers. How do you maintain the audience of those who may not have considered you before? How do you use your voice? A good way to engage your clients is by having a policy around social responsibility. Think about TOMS or Warby Parker, these for-profit businesses have charitable giving ingrained in their business models, and their business has grown tremendously because of it. I was an early adapter of TOMS, and I know that for me, their donations of shoes to children who could not afford them was what truly drew me in to the brand. A kind heart is respected across the board. You can host an event in which a portion of the proceeds is donated to your charity of choice, you can participate in back to school drives, sponsor youth sports programs or participate in national and local giving drives such as #GivingTuesday. Share your giving with others, and promote your company's charitable efforts on your website, through your social media channels, in your monthly newsletters, or any other avenues you use to promote your business. Your consumers will be drawn further into the story of your business by their interest in your philanthropic activities.
Team-up with the Big Dogs.
Have you considered partnerships with current standing charities? Maybe hosting a donation drive partnered with Salvation Army, Goodwill, or other similar corporations is an idea. It can serve as a team building opportunity for your small staff or even serve as a means to connect with big charities and team up for future events. If they are an established group, they can drive numbers of attendees and you can use that as a time to speak up and show your business is rooted in compassion and purpose!
Your Trash, Their Treasure.
Do you have products that just never sold? Collect them all, find those who may need it, and give it up. Not only does this clear up clutter for you, it may serve as a needed gift to whoever receives it. It also speaks volumes that you’d rather recycle and give back than just toss something valuable in the trash.
Spread the Love.
Warm and fuzzy has the be the best feeling ever. When you get on a roll with your business, you feel it. When someone shares your ad on social media (and you didn’t prompt them to do so), you feel it. When a stranger calls and says they were referred to you by such and such, you feel it. So create more warm and fuzzies by donating to a company. You can’t afford to donate yourself? Ok- no problem. Have others donate for you. You can keep it simple and have a donation link set up and available on your website.
The purpose of this is to create a better, wholesome economy and business community by using our voice. Let’s not be those business women and men that get so caught up chasing the dollar that we leave our communities behind. You have to value and nurture those that mean something to you. If people mean something to your business, then nurture them. Care for them. Give to them. We’re all here on earth with a purpose and the greatest should be rooted in love. So, consider incorporating a philanthropic aspect to your business and watch it spread and grow in communities you may not have reached before. Use your business to use your voice; Speak Up!
Be sure to do your research on charities that service your area. A great place to start your search is with local foundations in your communities!