For the majority of businesses, the festive period is the busiest and most profitable time of the year. This year is no exception, with small business owners expecting a very successful 2016 holiday season.
It’s important to give back around this special time – it helps to show your customers that you appreciate them, and it provides you with the opportunity to help out those who are less fortunate.
Not only that, it’s actually a really fun time. Everybody’s in high spirits and you get the chance to integrate with your local community and meet the characters that make the place tick. It also helps build respect for your business within your community.
There are a number of ways that a business can give back around the holiday season. They range from the surprisingly simple, to the incredibly inventive. Feel free to take on some of our ideas below, or adapt them to suit the specific desires of your business.
Find Out the Needs of Your Community
Simply giving an oversized novelty check to a charity of your choice can be a very straightforward and effective way to contribute to a cause in your community. However, is that what’s really needed in your community? You won’t know until you ask.
Chat with local schools and organizations – engage with them and find out what their needs truly are. Maybe they need food donations or money to help build a sports center. There’s a chance that a charity simply wants you to help raise awareness about a particular problem. Ask around and see where you can have the greatest impact.
Host an Event with a Good Cause
Hosting an event is a great way to spread the word about an issue and get the whole community on board.
The occasion doesn’t have to be anything fancy – simple events like chili cook-offs, karaoke nights or trivia evenings are great outings for the whole family. Just ask attendees to make a small donation or bring a (non-perishable) food item to gain entry. You can also run a host of other games, competitions and auctions alongside the main event to raise even more money.
Give the Gift of Time
The festive season isn’t just the busiest period for small businesses. It’s usually manic for charities and non-profit organizations too.
That’s why one of the simplest, but most valuable ways of giving back this holiday season is to offer your time. Round up your employees and volunteer at a local organization (or a selection of different places). You could serve at a soup kitchen, get your hands dirty at an animal shelter or clean up the local park. Ask your workers to get their friends and family involved as well. The more hands on deck, the better. Ensure that these events take place during office hours, so that staff aren’t giving up their family time. This will also help encourage participation.
Don’t forget to use the opportunity to celebrate your good will on social media too –you should be proud to show that you’re involved with the community. You can post pictures of your staff working and tell the stories of the people you meet. You’ll be raising awareness and spreading the word about the charity in the process.
Wrap Presents for Tips
A very practical way of giving back this holiday season is to set up shop at your premises (or better still, in a local mall) and get your team wrapping presents for the public. It’s a small gesture, but one that is always well received by time-strapped shoppers. Simply ask for a small donation in exchange for the service, and give it all to a nominated local cause.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Matching donations is one of the best ways of encouraging others to give. You can match employees’ or customer’s donations, or you can find ways to be more creative with services offered by your business.
For example, if you own a restaurant, you could choose a particular dish, and for every one sold, donate the same dish to a local shelter. The same could be done for coffees.
If your business is more service-based, you could advise that for every hour billed, you will give an hour of volunteer time to a local cause.
No matter how small the gesture, every little helps. Giving back over the holiday season is one of the most rewarding things you can do as a business owner and it really helps you get back in touch with your local community.