5 Ways Businesses Can Give Back to the Community Without Donating Money

By Emily Paulsen / November 12, 2020 / Company Culture

The desire to bolster our communities, give back to frontline workers, and support those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic is nearly universal.

But many businesses may not feel like they have the bandwidth or budget to do so.

Larger brands have found ways to donate or give back during the pandemic, but small, local businesses may struggle to find ways to support others when they’re struggling themselves.

Although the mantra “do what you can” can be words to live by, there are a few ways that businesses can still come together to support their communities when donating money or products is not possible.

1. Volunteer Your Time as a Team

Volunteering your time is always one of the best, most meaningful ways to give back.

VolunteerMatch has a database of both virtual and in-person volunteering opportunities across the country.

These volunteering options can be filtered by geographical location, date, cause area, kid-friendliness, and more.

Whether your team has a specific set of skills to offer or are simply want to help where needed, volunteering as a team is a great way to bring your team together and closer to their community.

2. Feature Local Businesses on Brand Social Channels

There’s nothing quite like a good-old-fashioned social media shout-out to support a local business.

If you have a platform that can support a cause, charity, or local business, use it to mobilize your followers to do just that.

Businesses in the Capital Region have been participating in things like #TheGreatAmericanTakeout, #518RainbowHunt, #CRComeback, and more. But a direct shout-out to another local business can offer a more personal, targeted approach.

Consider selecting a business of the week to feature on social, ordering takeout for your team from a local restaurant and posting about it, offering a giveaway of products from a local artisan, or implementing another initiative that allows you to use your platform to uplift other businesses.

And, don’t forget to tag the business in your brand’s social media post.

3. Organize Food, Clothing, or Other Community Donation Drive

As unemployment rises and virtual learning is in place for many, charities that support our most vulnerable community members are in need of donations now more than ever.

If you can’t make a financial donation to charities or organizations, consider doing some leg work for them.

Collect items like non-perishables, clothing, personal care products, household goods, masks, and more to help keep their shelves stocked.

Be sure to reach out to the organization ahead of time to determine which types of products they need most, as this can change from week to week.

And if you aren’t sure where to begin, talking to the local school administrators to see which charities support families in your school district is a great place to start.

4. Offer Specialized Skills to Businesses or Individuals in Need

Many businesses possess skills and resources that can help others thrive.

Whether your team is made up of accountants, IT managers, graphic designers, or anything in between, volunteering your team’s time to help local residents and businesses can be a great way to give back (as long as you can spare those working hours).

Of course, setting boundaries around the amount and type of time you are giving away is important to ensure you’re not being stretched too thin.

5. Offer Products or Services in Exchange for a Donation

An alternative to donating your time is providing it in exchange for a donation. This could be executed in a few ways, for example:

  • Offering a consultation for every $100 donation (one-hour, 30-minutes, etc.).
  • Pledging to donate a certain amount for every consultation booked/sale completed (i.e. a $10 donation for every $100 spent at your business, a $10 donation for every sale of a specific product, and more).

Remember to Give Back How You Can

The most important thing to remember when thinking of ways to give back to our communities is that everything counts.

No donation, amount of time, or act of service is too small.

Whether you’re a multi-million-dollar company or a one-man-shop, if you want to give back, do what works best for you.