If you clicked on this post, you’re likely interested in giving back to your community and having a social impact. Already that’s two thumbs up for you. There’s never a bad time to consider how you can have a social impact as a small business owner. Plus, there are plenty of ways to help your community, have a social impact, create a legacy for future generations, and be an example to other small business owners.
Below are several options on ways you can give back to your community as well as an example of a small business owner who is doing her part to help our environment. If you once needed help and received it, now it’s your turn to give back.
10 Ways Your Small Business Can Have a Social Impact
1. Reward those customers who donate
As a business owner, you constantly have to think of ways to thank your loyal customers that keep your business thriving. That’s basic marketing. Probably you already offer discounts. Why not taking this a step further to help your community? Offer your customers a 10% discount on selected products or services, but give them the option to give back this percentage of the sale to a local charity. They won’t say no! If they decide to donate more, reward them with something special, like a surprise gift they can take from a fishbowl. There’re plenty of ways to get creative with this as long as you keep your customers involved.
2. Sponsor your local sports team
Remember when you were young, and being involved in sports and extracurricular activities kept you on the right path? When you sponsor a local team you’ll be doing the same for young boys and girls who need it most. Sponsorships don’t have to empty your wallet. You can sponsor a team with minimal funds or even donate your business products if the sponsorship is not feasible for you. Do you have a pizza restaurant? Your local team will surely enjoy some fresh oven pizza after a game! And there’s always the option of volunteering, which brings me to my next point.
3. Give away your time
Giving away money is not the only way to have a social impact. There’s something much more important: your time. If you don’t have the funds to allocate to a sponsorship, try volunteering your time at your local school or with a sports team — anything that might fit your interests. Visit your neighborhood schools to talk about your business, or host school field trips at your workplace. In addition to volunteering your expertise, you’ll get a chance to inspire and make an impact on someone’s life. Plus, you’ll be able to practice grassroots networking with the parents in your community and even find new leads in places you never imagined.
4. Display a donation box
Having a social impact works best when you involve your community — it doesn’t all have to come from you. Create a donation box for your store and place it next to the cash register. You have probably seen this in many businesses. It’s simple and effective. Try to alleviate a problem your neighbor or someone from the community is having. Communicate the story and what you are seeking to do with the donations in written text outside of the box. You can also add the link to a Facebook page. Invite customers to donate but also to sign up for your mailing list to check the status of the person or family they are donating to and to learn more about how they contributed to having a positive social impact in the neighborhood. Donating is not only about giving money and forgetting about it. Involvement is the key to create a true social impact.
5. Consider the environment
Sometimes instead of adding to your business, it’s best to take away. For example, plastic containers and plastic straws are greatly affecting sea life in our environment. If you own a restaurant, instead of automatically assuming the customer would like a straw, ask beforehand. At times the customer won’t need a straw and you might be able to eliminate straw usage in that way. In the same token, make plastic bags optional. If you use sturdy take-home containers, plastic bags are not always needed. It might not seem like a huge difference, but eliminating plastic usage daily will make an incredibly positive impact on the environment.
6. Attend local events
You might be wondering if it’s worth your time away from your family to attend a 2-hour event where they may or may not be people from your demographic who could be interested in your business. But remember: the point here is not your business, but finding ways in which your business can help your community and be a role model for others. You can also learn valuable information by attending events. And don’t imagine a long, boring talk by a community leader. Let’s take a farmer’s market, for example. They are fun and vibrant places where you can take your whole family, learn something new, and use the acquired knowledge to give back to the community.
7. Get involved as a community board member
Many cities and municipalities have community meetings open to residents of the community and business owners. Getting involved and having a say in what happens in your community is a good way to ensure business owners are being treated fairly. It will not only benefit your personal business but the businesses of those around you as well. It will also give you the opportunity to understand the issues surrounding your community and strategize how your business could better serve those issues.
8. Host a fundraising event
Offer your business venue to be the location for a fundraising event. Whether it be a store, restaurant or car wash, there are ample benefits to this. You may attract new clients who come in for the fundraiser, but most importantly, you will help out those who need a venue to get their necessary funds.
9. Host a Holiday food drive
There’s no better way to help your community than by hosting a Holiday food drive. Ask your employees, or distribute to customers in your newsletter, to bring non-perishable food items. A great way to get this to work in your favor is by setting up a small incentive for those who bring in the most food items. An alternative to this idea is organizing a toy drive for kids in your local hospital.
10. Support local businesses
Finally, one of the best ways to have a social impact is to support local businesses like yours! Before buying a book from a corporate giant like Amazon, try seeking your local book store. Instead of supporting Olive Garden, check to see if there’s a family-owned Italian restaurant in your neighborhood. This initiative is something that any consumer can do, so, as a business owner, you have to try to go a step further. Place posters in your business inviting clients to support other small businesses like yours. Remind them of National Small Business Week when the date approaches. Supporting your local businesses will strengthen the economy in your community and likely give you good karma!
There are plenty of Latino business owners who have done the work to have a good social impact on their community. For example, there’s a small breakfast and juice shop store in Miami, FL., called Under the Mango Tree, whose owner, Patricia Olesen, is on a mission to save the environment. Her initiative may seem like a very small step for such a daunting task, but you have to start somewhere! She has a written sign in-store that explains the effect of plastic in the community and actionable steps we can all take to lessen these effects. As a result, she has eliminated all plastic from her store and has incentives for those who bring in their own containers for delivery orders. One of the incentives is $2 off their order. This way she creates an example for other business owners, gets clients coming back, and is doing her part eliminating plastic from the environment one piece at a time. Below, you can find some more incentives as well as other points she has covered in her sign.
Helping your community and making a social impact is simpler than one might think. With a few creative ideas, you can make a huge difference. At Camino Financial we are committed to helping the community of Latino small business owners. We are true to our motto “No Business Left Behind,” and we have helped thousands of business owners to access capital, grow their business, improve their financial performance and achieve the American dream. We focus on your education providing you the latest news and resources on immigration, business management, finances, and technology. And we invite you now to be part of our community! Simply subscribe to our free newsletter to receive weekly tips and articles that will help you grow your business.