You don't have to be a full blown social enterprise or even B corporation to do a little social good. In fact, as the tides of consumerism shift, more and more businesses are looking to implement some sort of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) into their brand's development strategy. Whether you are managing a behemoth corporate structure, still in startup phase, or just launched a passion project, there are plenty of unique ways you can make an impact and incorporate giving back into your business plan.
Often times, the number one concern we hear from business owners who are looking to give back, is that they're not interested in "just writing a check". Outside of the old school ways of giving, which consisted of monetary donations and obligatory volunteer work, brand's are getting creative and aligning themselves with causes they truly believe in. No matter what your companies budget is for investment, big or small, we've got a few out-of-the-box ideas for a charitable impact.
1. Get involved and lead by example
Set yourself apart as a leader in your office by finding group activities to participate in such as an AIDs walk or the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure. Post the event info and sign-up sheets, as well as contact info in the break room weeks in advance. This way everyone has time to commit, and will be able to schedule their weekend accordingly. Not only will this philanthropic effort bring awareness and raise funds for a great cause, but it will also serve as a great team building exercise.
2. Charitable company culture
Even if your business model isn't founded on social good, you can still inspire a charitable company culture by encouraging volunteer work. For those who are at the helm, offer employees one day off with pay per quarter so that employees may spend that day volunteering with the organization of their choice.
3. Partner with a local nonprofit
Often times, nonprofits are kept afloat by operating on a shoe-string budget. Businesses can align themselves with local organizations and causes they believe in, then offer support by being an avid cheerleader and even helping with promotion, marketing and sponsorship for upcoming events. You can cross-promote via social media channels and even assign someone to be your businesses "Community Chair". The next time your business hosts an open house, client appreciation, or holiday party, the Community Chair can organize to have a percentage of proceeds benefit your partner organization.
4. Bonuses that give back
Incentivize employee goal setting with participation in a bonus program. Lets say you own a hair salon, and retail sales of the professional hair care line you carry have been less than stellar. Set each employee up with their own education fund. Every time a stylist makes a product sale, instead of a commission bonus on their next check, that money gets reserved into a fund. Every quarter, each employee assesses their education fund, with 50% going to continuing education courses and classes for stylist level advancement, and 50% going to the charity of their choice. This maintains an incentive, as stylists are able to benefit by furthering their education while at the same time also giving back to a great cause.
5. Give what you're good at
Whether you are a dog groomer, music teacher, or accounting firm, you can always offer what you're good at to those less fortunate. If you own a dog grooming business, maybe provide your services free of charge to a local shelter for one weekend. If you are a CPA, maybe you can offer your time as a volunteer math mentor. You never know, you just might end up being the inspiration that a disadvantaged teen needed in order to stay on track, and focus in school.