Boost Your Community and Build Your Business on Giving Tuesday
December 14, 2018
By: Danny Bradbury
On Thanksgiving, we give thanks. On the following Tuesday, we give back. Giving Tuesday began in 2012 as a project from New York’s 92nd St Y cultural and community center, and the UN Foundation. The idea was to provide a way to give back after the excesses of the Thanksgiving weekend, which thanks to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, will see 164.6m consumers shopping this year.
It’s a time to kick off the charitable season leading up to Christmas, when many people’s giving period starts. It’s also a good opportunity for businesses to do the right thing while reaping some rewards of their own.
Giving back to the community can be good for business. Your company can claim donations of cash or property (including groceries) to registered non-profits as a business tax deduction. It is a good publicity driver and can drive customers from that community to deal with your company. It’s also a good form of networking, enabling you to meet other business people and even policymakers in your community.
Here are some ways to support this important day.
Have a business vision
You can make giving back to the community a strategic goal by working out what your company stands for and how you can reflect this in your charitable work. You can poll employees to see what causes they’re most interested in and why and use this as a starting point.
Don’t overlook employee needs
Some of the biggest giving opportunities come from employees in need. If you’ve heard of an employee whose family is going through a tough time thanks to a home disaster or even medical issues, then (after consulting with them) consider a company-wide donation program to help them out.
Organize group activities
Organizing employee activities around a cause can create a sense of togetherness within your company. These can include everything from beach cleanup to volunteering at a food bank or helping Habitat for Humanity build a home. You can make it easy to participate by providing transportation and food. Consider organizing events during work hours.
Consider finding business assets that you can lend to help non-profits. Using delivery vans and a driver to support local charity events is one good option.
Donate surplus goods
Your business may have goods that can’t be used, or which are at their expiry date. Whether you’re a bakery with pastries to spare or a hair salon with expiring hair care products, consider donating these to a homeless shelter or other appropriate cause.
Set up a payroll deduction program
You can give employees the chance to donate to a company-supported charity directly from their paycheck.
Use your skills
Draw on the unique talents within your company. Are you a technology firm? Consider partnering with local schools so that employees can help teach coding to kids. A mechanic shop? You can start a project to teach underprivileged teens how to renovate an old beater vehicle and boost their self-esteem.
Organize an event
Consider creating an event that both promotes your business and raises funds for local causes. A community art auction is a good opportunity for your coffee shop to bring people together, while a cake cook-off can be an entertaining way for your bakery to fundraise some, um, dough.
Finally, there’s no shame in talking about what you’re doing! You can use the hashtags related to Giving Tuesday on social media to publicize your efforts and inspire others to do the same. What better way to show people that you have a caring culture, and perhaps raise some extra funds for the cause from your Twitter tribe or Facebook family into the bargain?
Giving Tuesday may be just a single day, but its effects can last for the whole year. It can also be a great way to kickstart a broader discussion about what your employees want your business to mean to the community. After your initial successes on this important date, perhaps every day will become a day of giving in your company.
About the Author
Danny Bradbury has been writing about technology and business since 1989. His clients have included the Financial Times, the Guardian, and Canada's National Post.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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