Making a Difference

Many small business owners have huge hearts for their communities and local causes. They feel immense loyalty to those have supported them and want to keep tight bonds with those around them. The other side of that is many small businesses have smaller budgets and less room to make significant philanthropic contributions. So what can a small business owner do to make a difference in his or her community?

In Kind Donations

In kind donations are those that are goods and/or services rather than funding to purchase them. This is a very popular type of donation for small businesses. Some options are gift cards, food, auction items, or your space to host a meeting or event. Do you own a popular hot spot restaurant? Donate a gift card for a non-profit to auction. Have a cool shared workspace with a big conference room? Donate the room for a meeting at no cost.

These types of donations are great, because they alleviate some of the cost to the non-profit while also sharing access to your product or service. In kind donations are tax deductible, but check with your tax accountant on how much you can deduct.

Cash Donations

Cash donations are exactly as they sound: the donation of funds to be used by the non-profit at their discretion. This is a great option if you run a business that can’t provide in kind donations due to type of business or industry. The funds are often used to support large scale events like annual galas, festivals, and community gatherings.

Like in kind donations, cash donations are also tax deductible. There are exemptions to this rule, political campaigns as an example, but for the most part they are deducted at value.

Leadership Roles

The gift of time is never taken for granted by non-profits. Often short on volunteers, it is important for people to step up and take on leadership positions. Whether it is sitting on the board or volunteering to help with a committee, each opportunity to help must be filled.

A creative option is to have your entire business help. Staff an entire committee with your own employees as a way to build your team and help the community simultaneously. Involving your business in the community builds both relationships, team camaraderie, and empathy.

So how do you find a non-profit that matches up with your business, goals, and values? A good place to start is your local Chamber of Commerce. From there you will be able to build connections with other leaders and learn where they give their time and money. Attend a few non-profit events and meet with their leaders. You are not obligated to help every non-profit, but it is important to fully understand the purpose of the ones you do help.


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