One of the most fulfilling things that you can do as a small business is to find a way to give back. Oh, you already thought of that? Good job!
Image by Deborah Anderson from 123rf.com graphic (used by permission)
True, there are some companies for which charitable giving doesn’t matter. But often times, people are interested in looking into doing some sort of giving back, volunteering in their communities, or some sort of philanthropy. It is just that either they haven’t directly thought of doing so or they don’t know how.
Small Biz Trends found that many small businesses desire to give. Granted, maybe those who like to give are doing so in the area of responding to these types of surveys.
But it could also be argued that those who are giving become too busy to respond to surveys. So I’m going to take the results that Small Biz Trends found at face value, eh?
Either way, it is encouraging that there are generous individuals and businesses. You are not alone in a desire to give back to society and to your community, especially as a small business or freelancer!
Three Ways of Giving Back
There are many different ways that you can give. As we mention in our conclusion, you are not limited by the following three categories. That said, they are common methods, so that is where we’ll start.
Giving from Your Wallet
When you think of “giving,” what comes to mind? Many people think of giving in terms of money. That is typical. It may not have been the answer that you gave to the question, and that is ok too.
These days, it is fairly easy for the giver. This is not to say that it is easy on some people’s pocketbooks. It is easier considering the dawn of the internet.
In years (and centuries) past, charity was a matter of taking the money, sometimes in cash form, to the place where you were giving. Sometimes people give at their local churches or synagogues.
Sometimes, non-church goers give at corner charities. You have probably seen the Salvation Army bell ringers around the annual holiday time, eh? Those are opportunities for you to give cash at a convenient location.
However, that convenience only goes so far. It requires that you have cash on hand and that you are at a location where you can give. Or it requires that that location takes credit cards or checks and that you drive to wherever you need to go.
Fortunately, everything has become more convenient with the internet. Now you can give from your PayPal account right on the charity’s website!
What about the entity that is trying to sponsor a charity or become a charity? This is where it gets tricky. If you want to become a charity to receive monies for some cause, you need to do paperwork to ensure that you will be legitimate.
As a giver, there is also the concern over whether that internet convenience is a convenience for a scam or a real charity.
In either case, “Buyer beware.” Be careful where you get advice if you desire to become (or sponsor) a charity, and be careful to whom you are giving money if you are the giver. Do your research!
Volunteering Your Time
Another way of giving is to give of your time and energy.
Some school districts have started community service programs to help kids learn how to give. I think these are great projects.
This strategy teaches our students the value of giving, and it also demonstrates how easy it is to volunteer time.
In our case, our kids helped out at a food shelf, where they were able to greet people and provide them with meals. I have seen the benefits of that education, and the kids are still seeking to help others.
The school provided a list of places where kids can volunteer their time and energy. And even moms, dads, friends, aunts, and uncles can join the process. Local charities can ask to be listed so that they can obtain the much-needed help that they require to keep functioning.
How about starting your own program if your local school district does not already have it covered? And even if the school already has one, maybe there is a way that you can volunteer your time in expanding the reach of a similar community program?
Giving Your Resources
Maybe you want to coordinate your resources. Even the location of your office can be something that benefits a charity, and vice versa.
As an example, maybe your office happens to be located near what is sometimes called a “Goodwill” center or a “Thrift Shop.” These places receive your unwanted items.
They sell them to others, giving that profit to charities. Or they simply give them to people in need. You will definitely want to check out your local center to ensure that it is handling the resources properly.
This is another opportunity to give. If it is close to where you work, it hardly interrupts your day at all. You could even offer to help friends and neighbors. They could drop off their items at your house and you can volunteer to make the drop for others as well.
Just because we listed three different ways to give doesn’t mean that you can only give within those categories. As an example, when I was looking for charities, I didn’t find any that would even return my calls.
This was surprising, considering I was offering to give from concert profits as the #1 jazz singer in Los Angeles. So I started a benevolent campaign called “5 Hugs a Day.” It may not be a charity, but it is a way of giving back.
I even had local teenagers volunteering to wear sandwich boards to advertise the campaign. We promptly suggested that we not do that as “hugs” could be misconstrued.
If ordinary people can do it, you can too! Just let your creativity suggest some ideas. Then reach out, ask questions, and move forward!
Deborah Anderson wears many hats in her addiction to acquiring knowledge. From professional training as a sound engineer at the Los Angeles Film School to graduating summa cum laude in software architecture, and then on to become the director of Information Technology at the high profile Bel Air Investment Advisors, she often comments that she is only just beginning. She enjoys sharing her knowledge discoveries with her readers and is always ready to offer a helping hand.