Year-round, small businesses rely on customer and community support to prosper. As essential members of their communities, it’s important for small businesses to give back to show their appreciation and dedication to those that have helped them succeed. Since the holiday season is a time to show gratitude to our friends and loved ones, it’s also a great time for small businesses to say “thank you” by giving back. Contributing to the people and communities that support your work is not only a feel-good endeavor, it can also help improve your bottom line.
When many people think about the benefits of charitable giving, the first benefit that comes to mind is reducing taxable income. However, the benefits of getting involved in charitable giving go far beyond a tax deduction. Here are four reasons why:
1. Giving back creates a positive company culture
According to the 2017 Deloitte Volunteerism Survey, nearly 90% of employees surveyed believe that “companies who sponsor volunteer activities offer a better overall working environment than those who do not.” Additionally, another study found that businesses that engage in philanthropy see a 13% increase in employee productivity. Positive work environments foster engaged employees who are 87% less likely to leave their jobs. Improving your company culture through volunteer activities and charitable donations can help you retain your top-notch employees, saving you money that could be lost in employee turnover.
Whether you choose a charity to support or engage your employees to select one that is meaningful to them, you can empower your team to organize fundraisers, clothing drives, volunteer days or whatever is most appropriate for the charity’s needs and your company culture. As an example, at EGF, we offer volunteer activities for employees and a corporate match for employee contributions to charitable organizations.
2. Giving back creates community goodwill
It’s simple: people often remember businesses that give to the communities in which they live and work. The holiday season is a great time to leverage your connections with your customers to strengthen loyalty and goodwill, and it’s easy to get them involved as well. How? Here are a few simple ideas:
Contribute a portion of proceeds from sales to a charity. Publicize this promotion through your website, social media and, if relevant, at your location so that customers know the additional benefits of doing business with you.
Give customers the option to donate to the charity that your business supports when they check out. If you can, match customer donations up to an amount that’s affordable.
If you have a storefront location, consider offering your space as a collection point for a partnering organization’s charitable endeavor, such as a food or toy drive.
3. Giving back is a marketing opportunity
Charities often organize special fundraisers during the holiday season. Participating in them as a sponsor or by volunteering enables your business to leverage the charitable organization’s marketing efforts and earn publicity for your business. Businesses can reach target customers by sponsoring events relevant to their industry. A physical therapy business might sponsor a local road race or sports tournament, or a pet store might sponsor an adopt-a-thon.
Giving back to your customers also presents a great marketing opportunity during the holiday season. Offering discount cards and special promotions can help attract more customers to your business while also saying “thank you” to those that support your business throughout the year.
4. Industry-wide recognition
Consider donating to a charity that’s related to your industry. For example, if your business manufactures parts used in hospital equipment, consider donating to a national healthcare organization and encourage others in your industry to join you. By doing so, you’ll position yourself as a leader in your field and earn additional recognition for your business.
Most important of all, know that the amount isn’t important, as long as it’s meaningful
When giving back, don’t be concerned about how much your business can offer. No amount of money, goods or volunteer time goes unappreciated by those in need. Make it meaningful and your holiday generosity will be the gift that comes back to you and your business many times over.
Happy holidays from Excelsior Growth Fund!