As small business owners, we deserve to feel good about the many contributions we make to our communities year ‘round. We invent new products, create the majority of new jobs, and keep the economy moving. But at this time of year, we often think about ways we as small business owners and employees can give more directly to those less fortunate.
Here are five easy ways for you and your small business to make a difference this holiday season:
1. Support a worthy cause and save money
With the “GoodshopGive” button downloaded to your computer browser’s, you can donate a percent of your online purchases to the cause of your choice while discovering deals and coupons at the same time.
“We began Goodshop because we wanted to make it easy for people to find coupons and deals and to raise money for what’s closest to their heart,” said JJ Ramberg, who co-founded Goodshop.com in 2005 with her brother, Ken. To date, Goodshop has raised more than $12 million for worthy causes.
“The Goodshop Deals Button has been a true blessing for our animals,” said Sunny Aris, Founder of Animal Village New Mexico, one of Goodshop’s more than 114,000 beneficiaries. Animal Village was about to close when Goodshop donations came to the rescue. “I had no money for payroll, no one to borrow from, and had depleted all my personal funds. Feeling defeated, I went through my mail and there it was. A check from Goodshop. I burst into tears.”
“Small businesses are always buying things,” said Ramberg, host of MSNBC’s weekend business program Your Business. “Through Goodshop, they can be saving money and support something they and their employees care about.”
Just install the GoodshopGive button on your company’s browsers and every time you shop at participating stores—for example, Gap, Target, Toys R Us, Etsy—you get access to the best discounts and a portion of your purchase goes to the charity of your choice, such as the American Cancer Society, Planned Parenthood, Catholic Charities. You can even create your own cause.
2. Hold a company used clothing or canned food drive
Givebackbox.com makes it easy for you to hold a company collection for those in need. Ask employees to bring in clothes they no longer need, especially sweaters, coats, and socks this time of year, or other useful household goods. Pack them into some of those empty boxes you have sitting around the office, and then print off a shipping label at Givebackbox.com. It’s free! Just drop your box off at a UPS store near you (or have your UPS driver pick it up), and the clothes will go to the Goodwill store nearest you. You can also get a tax-deductible receipt for your donation.
It’s also a good time to clean out your cupboards of extra canned goods to help those who are hungry. Have one of your employees contact a local hunger relief organization and drop off the canned goods at a collection center near your place of business.
3. Thank our troops
Buy – or bake – some holiday cookies and hold a letter writing lunch or session. Encourage staff members who want to participate to write letters to our troops overseas to thank them for their service and remind them that people back home are thinking of them. You can do this through the USO. And while you’re writing, send a note to an isolated elderly person to wish them happy holidays through Love for the Elderly.
Toy drives, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, animal shelters. Charitable organizations face increased demand this time of year and many of them could use a helping hand. If this is a slow time in your business, you can build team spirit and do good at the same time by donating time. Go to Volunteer Match to find appropriate activities for you and your small business team.
5. Giving Tuesday
Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday. There are a whole lot of days dedicated to shopping after Thanksgiving Day. Here’s another day to add to your list: Giving Tuesday. November 29. The Tuesday after Thanksgiving has been designated as the day to kick off your end-of-year giving. Promote the day on social media with the #GivingTuesday hashtag.
Copyright, Rhonda Abrams, 2016
This article ran in USA Today on November 23, 2016