Success is a responsibility, not a reward.
Success is a responsibility because remarkable entrepreneurs do more than make money. They view success not only as a way to improve their lives, and the lives of their employees, but as a means to improve the lives of other people by giving back.
Any small business, no matter how successful, can give back. All it takes is effort and creativity.
And while getting a return on your “doing good” investment is not the goal, your business will definitely benefit from the exposure and goodwill generated by acts of kindness.
Here are ways you can give back as an entrepreneur;
1. Donate What You Can’t Use
Every business or market has unused food. Businesses in almost every industry wind up with unused or obsolete (at least from a sales point of view) products and supplies.
And don’t forget services, especially if your business is seasonal and you have unused capacity.
How can you create value for someone else by re-purposing what you don’t use?
People in need obviously benefit, but so do your employees, because they genuinely appreciate when you create the opportunity for them to make a difference.
The best way to make a long-term impact is to help people help themselves. You can teach an organization to maintain its own website, or handle its bookkeeping, or create more effective outreach materials, charities are often the ultimate in bootstrapping. Anything you can help a charity, or the people it serves, do more efficiently helps their dollars go farther.
Volunteer your time. Volunteer the time of your team as well, but only during work hours. Giving should be voluntary, not mandatory.
3. Fundraise As A Team
You don’t have to spend money from your own pocket. The City Harvest Skip Lunch Fight Hunger program encourages New Yorkers to donate what they would have spent on lunch–say, $10–to help feed children who don’t have access to school lunches during the summer months. (City Harvest can feed 37 children with a $10 donation.)
The more specific the cause, the more likely people are to participate. You can participate in an established event or create your own. The more creative the better–and the more likely you will be to inspire others to give.
In addition, there’sa side benefit: In the process you will create a sense of community and shared purpose within your team.
4. Participate In A Fundraising Event
Auctions are a popular way for organizations to raise money; often bidders will pay more than the value of the item as a way to help support the organization (especially since the amount of the bid that exceeds the fair market value of the item is tax-deductible.)
And even though it’s not the point, but in the process you might gain a long-term customer.
5. Create a win-win partnership
Any business can create a win wun partnership with specific products or services; the key is to make the tie-in as direct as possible. That way you’ll not only raise money, you naturally help raise the organization’s profile as well.
And you give your customers an easy way to make a difference; that’s something customers genuinely appreciate.
6. Use your platform as a business leader to draw attention to a cause
Almost every organization hopes to create ties to local business owners and community leaders.
You can do the same. Offer testimonials. Offer to speak at an event and share why you feel the cause is important. Offer to serve as a contact or source for local media seeking quotes or background information. If you aren’t sure how to help, just call your favorite organization and say, “How can I help you spread the word about the great things you do?”
The person you call will definitely have ideas, and they’ll appreciate the fact that, for once, someone came to them with an offer to help.