Small Businesses and Charity: 5 Easy Ways to Give Back
If more people took the time and energy to donate to charity and notable causes, then the world would be a better place. But you already knew that, didn’t you? It’s common sense.
So, what’s your small business doing to help? It’s time to take action if you haven’t already been doing so — come on, it’ll be worth it!
Here are 5 ways your organization and your employees can make a difference, whether you have an entire day to spare or only a few minutes.
1. Employee Volunteer Day
Volunteer days provide multifaceted solutions for companies and charities: They lend extra (and free) help, they boost awareness and empathy of a cause, and they give employees a chance to shine outside of the normal workplace. For example, a few of our employees had a great time volunteering at Tails Humane Society one holiday season. There was plenty of work to be done — from cleaning small pet cages to walking the dogs — and we walked away with a lot more awareness after it was done.
How to start an Employee Volunteer Day:
- Do research on non-profit organizations and charities in your area and find the one that best fits your company’s ideals (I recommend Charity Navigator, where you can search by area or cause).
- Start a sign up sheet in your office and send out a company-wide email to determine level of employee interest.
- Get in touch with the contact listed for your chosen organization and pick a day/time that works for everyone.
- Go forth and lend a helping hand!
2. Double the Donations Initiative
What’s a Double the Donations initiative? Simply put, it’s like a 401k match for charitable donations. Talk to your boss about placing jars or containers in common office areas, encourage employees to drop in spare change or bills when they can, and then count all of the cash after a specific amount of time. If your employer would be willing to match the donations in the containers each month or quarter, then you’ll boost your offerings in no time at all! You could even get customers involved with donations if your business is set up to accommodate foot traffic.
- Local food pantries
- Animal welfare organizations or shelters
- School programs
- Toys for Tots divisions
- Homeless shelters
3. Turn Charity Into a Friendly Workplace Competition
I don’t have to tell you that team building is effective and fun, right? Believe it or not, it’s easy to double the effectiveness of team building by pairing it with a charity goal. Sites like Freerice and GamesThatGive offer trivia and brain teasers that donate to charity with each correct answer or play. They’re sponsored by advertisers so you may have to tolerate a few ads here and there, but it’s a small price to pay for the benefit. Pick a site/game, divide your staff into teams, and let them collaborate and compete for a few minutes each week. May the best team win!
Or, if online games just aren’t your thing, then you’ll have to get creative with your efforts. Organize a physical team-building activity like a bags tournament or mini golf playoffs and let your teams compete for a grand prize: A monetary reward to the charity of their choice! It doesn’t get much better than rolling team building, fun, and competition into a charitable giving game.
Team-building game ideas:
- Advertiser-sponsored game sites like Freerice or GamesThatGive
- Bags, basketball, golf, or another sports-related tournament
- Video game playoffs
- Trivia competitions
4. Encourage Employees to Donate via Daily Click Sites
This one might sound weird but hear me out. Daily click sites like Greater Good, Care2, and One Click at a Time facilitate donations from sponsors (site advertisers) to fund charity projects. All it takes is one click and they’re one step closer to meeting goals like feeding the hungry, raising money for breast cancer research, or vaccinating shelter animals. Thanks for the free money, advertisers! Urge staff to band together and really boost those clicks for good causes.
I fully understand the need to minimize workplace distractions, but what if only a couple minutes a day could make a big difference for a needy cause? Remind your employees to spend a few seconds on a click each day, and it could even serve as a stepping stone to something bigger (like employee volunteer days).
Daily click site suggestions:
5. “Brown Bag It for Charity” Initiative
How many people go out for fast food during their lunch periods? If your office is anything like mine, then it’s about half the staff. Have you ever thought about the total cost of those lunches? Challenge employees to put aside the money they’d otherwise spend on lunch and bring one from home instead! That pooled money adds up quickly, so you’re bound to have a couple hundred bucks by the end of the week if everyone participates. That’s no chump change, especially if you combine it with the Double Your Donations idea in point #2…
Remember to check sites like CharityNavigator.org to find out more information on charities you donate to. Sketchy organizations do exist and it’d be a shame to give them money over a legitimate one! Otherwise, your company’s charity contributions are only limited by your time and creativity. Do something good and you’ll feel a lot better, I promise!
How does your small business contribute to non-profits or charity causes? Any more ideas that could prove simple for companies to implement?