Whether you’re a private individual or business owner, there are plenty of good reasons to donate to charity beyond the obvious benefit of helping those in need.
Charitable giving can create connections, generate goodwill, and make the donor feel happy — and that’s all in addition to the tax deduction.
But what if you don’t have anything left over at the end of the month to give? What if your business is only just breaking even?
There are still plenty of ways to give back, even if you’re not wealthy.
For business owners
If you own a small business, you know that your reputation in the community is worth a hundred billboards. By giving back, you can support your community in ways that will incline your community to support you.
Whenever possible, shop at other small businesses in town. Go to the farmer’s market every week, get your dried fruit at the local health food store, and chat with the owner of your independent bookstore. Offer to put up their ads on a bulletin board in your establishment, and look for ways to partner with other businesses.
Keep a change jar on the counter
Some shoppers are very careful with their change while others find it a nuisance. Choose a local charity and keep a jar on your shop counter labeled with that charity’s name. Encourage shoppers to drop their extra change in the jar, and you’ll soon have a tidy sum to donate.
As a businessperson, you have a set of skills that are in demand. For example, you might offer to keep the books for a local charity or volunteer-run organization. You might also be able to offer to mentor high school students or teach classes through your local library. Sharing your knowledge and experience is a wonderful way to give back.
Encourage your employees to volunteer
You can come together as an organization to (for example) work in a soup kitchen one evening a month, or you can offer employees a certain amount of paid time off to volunteer so that they don’t have to choose between supporting themselves and supporting their community.
How individuals can give back
There are many ways for you to support the growth and stability of your town or neighborhood that don’t require you to give away a ton of money. By offering your time, interest and skills, you’re doing more than enough.
When locals frequent the small businesses that are owned by other members of their community, they’re contributing to a virtuous wealth cycle. In addition, if you shop locally, you get to know not just the owners but also other local shoppers, and that weaves you more deeply into the social fabric of your locality and strengthens your sense of connection.
Participate in cleanup projects or work days
Most communities organize workdays to clean up playgrounds, paint murals, plant flowers, or do chores for older residents. Even if you can only offer one day a year, your energy and presence on that one day will make a difference.
Attend political events
Getting involved in local politics supports your community and our democracy as a whole. There are increasing numbers of grassroots organizations that are looking for volunteers, and they need nothing but your time.
The bottom line
Investing your energy in the community where you live or work will give you fresh insights into your world, build connections with your neighbors and customers, and improve everyone’s lives and livelihood.