The season of giving is upon us. In fact, consumer behaviors are continuing to change in favor of giving businesses that stand for something. For instance, 73% of Americans make buying decisions based on companies’ charitable giving. Additionally, employees are more engaged and have more job satisfaction when they work for companies that prioritize charitable giving.[Tweet “73% of Americans make buying decisions based on companies’ charitable giving.”]
How Giving Businesses Can Contribute
Although budgets are increasingly strapped, small businesses can still give back while on a budget this holiday season.
1. Collaborate with a Charity
There are several different ways giving businesses can collaborate with charities. Perhaps the most public way is to donate a portion of sales to a charitable organization. Also, you can prompt buyers to round up to the nearest dollar or make a larger donation at checkout. This puts your partnership with the organization square in front of your customers. This spreads awareness around not only a cause important to the business but sharing the mission of the specific organization.
2. Reward Referrals with Donations
Incorporating donations into a referral program is a great way to encourage engagement among current customers. This is in addition to giving back and boosting sales. For example, small business owners can set up a referral program to support local schools. Customers can pick a local school to receive a donation or new school supplies with every successful referral.
Referrals also help in the long-term bringing in new customers. Charitable giving referrals also start the new customer relationship on a high note. This positions the business as one that cares for their community.
3. Take a Day off to Volunteer Together
There is evidence to support that volunteering lowers stress and helps us live longer. However, finding time to volunteer is difficult no matter how motivated we are.
Volunteer Time Off (VTO) is an increasingly popular employee benefit—26% of employers offer VTO according to a 2019 study, up 2% from 2018. A study from Deloitte found that nearly 90% of employees feel that companies that sponsor volunteer activities have a better work environment than those that don’t.[Tweet “How is your business giving back during this time of the year? Need budget-friendly ideas? Read this: https://smarthustle.com/giving-season-for-businesses/ “]
Businesses that organize opportunities to volunteer as a team They are enabling their employees to do good without stressing about time away from work, family and friends. In addition to community engagement, volunteering as a team is also a great way to engage with employees on a deeper level.
If VTO is not a benefit your business currently offers, consider closing the store for a day to volunteer as a team.
4. Food and Clothing Drive
An alternative to taking time away from work, that also engages employees, is organizing a food and clothing drive. A good way to bring in more goods is to set up a friendly competition, breaking staff up into multiple teams. A prize for the winning team is letting them pick a charitable organization that the business will make a donation to.
The great thing about food and clothing drives in 2020 is they do phenomenal good for people in need while remaining socially distant.
5. Pro-Bono Work
Finally, business owners and their employees can give back to communities by offering their services to local organizations. For example, a small event planning firm can organize a silent auction, or a boutique ad agency can create an advertisement for a local charity. There are a multitude of ways to apply business skills to make an impact.
An alternative to taking time away from work, that also engages employees, is organizing a food and clothing drive.
Not only does pro-bono work help charitable organizations, but it also provides your staff with opportunities to work on different projects or develop new skills.
No matter how you choose to make a difference, there are ways to make a positive impact without breaking the bank. I encourage all small business owners to give back to the community they serve in some capacity. While 2020 has been a difficult year, doing some charity work does a lot of good for all.
By Suhaib Zaheer, SVP and GM of Bluehost
Suhaib Zaheer is a small business owner with over 15 years of experience in the technology industry. He currently leads a talented team as Senior Vice President and General Manager at Bluehost, an Endurance International Group company and all-in-one website experts. Bluehost is a one-stop platform that gives small businesses the tools and guidance to create and grow a website with limitless possibilities. As general manager, Suhaib oversees the brand’s operations, ensuring his team is always keeping the customer in mind when developing new tools and content.
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