Goodwill To All: Charitable Outreach Ideas For Small Business

As the holidays approach, we are often reminded of those who are less fortunate, those who go without. What a great opportunity for your business to affect a change in your area and brighten the lives of those in need!

The first thing to keep in mind is that charitable giving is not exclusively for the wealthy, or, in this case, large businesses. While they may not have copious amounts of money to plunk down in the form of a sizeable donation to the charity of their choice, there are ways that small businesses can make substantial differences in their communities during the holiday season. It's good to point out that the benefits extend to your business also, as it associates goodwill and positive action with your brand.

Let's consider a few and think about which charitable holiday giving ideas might be a good fit for your business.

    Organize a food drive. Your local homeless shelter will appreciate your help in keeping their pantry stocked with non-perishable items and canned goods, particularly during the holiday season when the need is even greater. Encourage your employees to contribute. Offer a discount or a small gift to customers who contribute food.

    Collect donations for charity. Partner with a local or national charity and ask customers if they would like to make a donation to that cause. Many businesses ask for a dollar, but you can leave the option for more. Your business will benefit because of the association with the charity, as well as a possible mention of your business in the charity's newsletter, website, or other marketing materials.

    Volunteer your time. As stated earlier, not all businesses have an abundance of funds to make monetary donations, however the gift of time to a charity can also be an appreciated donation. Consider taking a day to go as a group to volunteer for a worthy cause. Another way to do this is to allot employees a paid amount of time to donate to working at a charity with which you are partnered.

    Offer in-kind donations. In-kind donations (gifts of your business' services, goods, or space) are a tremendous benefit to charitable organizations, and, at the same, allow people who might not normally be customers to become better acquainted with your business.

Philanthropic gestures such as the few mentioned here afford your business positive exposure and the opportunity to link your brand with that of another in a way that reflects well on you. By promoting your ideas through your newsletters, social media outlets, and other forms of outreach, you help ensure the success of these charitable events and donations. Most importantly, your business becomes a force for good in your community and affects the lives of those who might otherwise go without.