Small businesses are continually seeking ways to compete in ever-competitive markets. While they often fill a niche not easily met by larger corporations, small businesses sometimes find it difficult to gain traction in a community and fully showcase all they have to offer. Getting more involved in their communities, including working collaboratively with nonprofit organizations, can provide the boost small businesses need to connect with their communities.
Many large companies boast programs that promote social responsibility and community involvement, and it can be a smart move for small businesses as well. There are plenty of ways small businesses can get involved with local charities.
• Find a good match. Consider working with a charity that has a connection to your business so that there is a common purpose. For example, a pet groomer may want to work with an animal welfare organization. Service-related businesses, such as law firms or accounting firms, can assist groups that offer services and business counseling to needy families. Landscapers may find a good fit with an environmental protection charity.
• Donate goods or services. Charitable organizations are always in need of more money to fund their efforts, but small businesses can contribute in other ways as well. Businesses can donate supplies and services, such as a printing firm offering to print business cards or brochures for the charity. Business owners and their employees can volunteer their time, which can be a great way for employees to connect outside of the office and boost morale in the process.
• Support a fundraising event. A highly visible way to support a charity is to host or support a fundraising activity. Small businesses can offer to collect donations at their offices or stores. Warehouse spaces can be used to store supplies, while other venues may be ideal spots for dances, walks or charity dinners. Businesses can ask that the charity mention the sponsorship in event advertisements and marketing.
• Financial donations can make ‘cents.’ Giving to charity is a way to increase tax deductions and reduce annual tax bills. Small businesses can work with their financial officers or accountants to develop a budget for charitable giving.
• Obtain meaningful exposure to influential people. Working with established nonprofits can help provide a connection to influential people in the community and beyond. The more exposure a business can get, the more access it has to networking opportunities. In addition, more contacts in the community can increase word-of-mouth marketing that increases your customer base and improves your standing in the community.
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