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4 Ways for Small Business Owners to Give Back to Their Community

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As a small business owner, there’s no better way to say “thank you” to your community than by giving back. From sponsoring a Little League team to volunteering for a Habitat for Humanity build, there are hundreds of opportunities for getting involved. As you consider which options are right for your business, these are four things you may wish to keep in mind:

1. Pick the right partner.

As a small business owner, you already wear many hats. Adding “volunteer coordinator” to the list may be one hat too many, draining your enthusiasm and energy for your volunteer efforts before you've even begun. Rather than trying to handle everything on your own, look to include your staff that can be the support you need to get your own program up and running. You can also partner with a local nonprofit organization to set up regular opportunities for your office such as volunteering once a month at an animal shelter or every holiday season, collecting gifts for a local family in need.

2. Act locally.

When a cause is near and dear to your heart, your passion for this cause will naturally shine through, inspiring your fellow employees as well as customers and clients. For small businesses, choosing personal causes that are closely aligned with local needs may also inspire customers and community members to get involved. For example, if you’re passionate about education, are there volunteer tutoring opportunities at a local public school? If you love the outdoors, is there a park, running trail or community garden near your office that could benefit from regular beautification efforts? Maximize your impact with online resources like Volunteer Match, which can help connect your small business with local organizations that need your help.

3. Get creative.

While donating a percentage of profits to a cause is always appreciated, there are many other ways to show support that go beyond financial contributions. Consider sponsoring a semi-annual “day of giving” in the community, where customers and employees can work together to complete a volunteer project. If you share space with other companies in a larger office building, consider holding a building-wide event, like a blood drive or toy drive, to magnify your company’s impact. If you donate your company’s time or services to a non-profit rather than charging for them, you may be entitled to a tax benefit. While you cannot deduct the value of your time, you can deduct the value of any donated materials, according to the U.S. Small Business Association.

4. Spread the word.

Don’t be shy about promoting your company’s volunteer work and encouraging community participation. If you send a regular e-newsletter, include an item about an upcoming volunteer project and invite customers to get involved or share on social media. Send a follow-up email detailing the project’s success and upcoming opportunities for giving back. Contact your local newspaper or community television station and ask if they’d like to do a short story about the event to raise awareness. If you publish an annual report, include your company's community volunteer work. Put a dollar amount of how much your donated time or services would normally cost next to the number of hours your employees have spent giving back, so it's easy for customers to understand how much your company gives to the community.


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