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BFS Capital Blog

When Small Businesses Give Back, Everybody Wins

November 25, 2013

Small business owners often say they’re giving…and giving…and giving all the time. So, the question of “giving back?” Are you kidding?

But not so fast. “Giving back” is a concept small business owners need to consider and, if at all possible, act on. Turns out, there are all kinds of reasons for small businesses to give back, some altruistic, some rooted in self-interest. Either way, giving back is a win-win for small businesses and communities alike.

Business owners sometimes hold back because there’s no way they can match the massive amounts donated by big companies. But that’s not really the point. When small businesses give back in their own ways, they can have considerable impact, says the site, as well as benefit themselves. Here are three big reasons for doing it, aside from doing good and helping those in the community:

    • Good publicity—the kind that advertising can’t buy.
    • Employee sentiment. It’s just good to work for a company that cares. Not to mention the team building and morale-boosting that come from getting everyone involved.
    • Customer appreciation. Increasingly, consumers make buying decisions based on a commitment to the community.

Small Business Information also explores how giving back can help your small business. Of course, benefitting your business isn’t the core reason you’re taking action to give back. Nonetheless, there are some clear and lasting benefits:

    • It’s a way to develop new relationships and strengthen existing ones.
    • It can broaden your experience.
    • It’s an indirect marketing strategy.
    • It’s a way of building your brand and burnishing your reputation.
    • You’ll probably (personally) become more well-rounded.

GrouponGrassroots takes a look at how small businesses give back and, based on real examples, has come up with some themes shared by these businesses in terms of how they approach the whole question of giving back:

    • They start small. (And still have big impact.)
    • Giving back is part of the story with which they connect with customers.
    • They’re not overshadowed by the efforts of bigger businesses.
    • They use PR and social media to celebrate how they’re making a difference.
    • It becomes a part of both customer acquisition and retention.

If you’re thinking about initiating efforts to give back or just looking for new ideas, UPS Small Business offers some suggestions for big ways small businesses can give back via community service. Although, as the site says, monetary contributions are common (and easy), there are many other worthy (and creative and interesting) ways to give back. Here are a few:

    • Encouraging employees to volunteer. (Giving them time off to do it is huge!)
    • Offering your own expertise.
    • Having contests at the office. (Cash prizes go to worthy causes.)
    • Collecting change and asking customers to “round up” purchase amounts.
    • Periodically setting aside a percentage of every sale.
    • Having collection boxes for food or clothing.
    • Supporting worthy causes in your promotions, especially social media.

It seems there’s no dearth of real-world examples of real businesses giving back in real ways. Business News Daily lists 36 ways your small business can help, each one contributed by small business owners themselves, based on their own experiences. Click the link above to read about their impressive efforts—efforts that you could adopt, too.

Image courtesy of winnond /