With the Holiday season quickly approaching, many organizations are hyper-focused on finding ways to increase their Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Don't overlook another fast-approaching seasonal day that can make a big impact on your company morale and public relations: Giving Tuesday.
Coming off of a weekend of spending on yourself and loved ones, Giving Tuesday is devoted to giving back. There are tons of reasons to be charitable year-round, but there's something about the holiday season that brings out the best in all of us.
It's just easier to get into the spirit of giving during this festive time of year. But if those warm and fuzzy feelings are not enough to motivate you to start giving back in your business, there are plenty of practical reasons to stop being a scrooge this season:
1. Tax deductions
One great reason to give back to the community and donate to charity is that if you donate enough, you may be able to write it off in the form of a tax deduction. If you're not sure whether you're allowed to deduct your charitable donations, keep records of everything you give and consult with a tax professional about your options.
Almost all charitable organizations are happy to publicly thank you for your donations or service, and that means positive exposure for your business. Whether you're recognized for a donation or featured on the local news for doing some fun volunteer work, you're bound to have your name introduced to someone who had not heard of you before, and you've started with a great first impression.
3. Networking opportunities
With publicity and activism comes more opportunities to network and expand your circle to include new relationships that could lead to sales, partnerships, or other value exchanges.
The good news is that you don't have to invest an enormous portion of your business budget to make an impact; there are plenty of ways to give back and be charitable without spending a huge amount of money. That leads us right into this next section.
4. Promoting other businesses
One of the easiest and most affordable ways to give back to your community is to support and promote other businesses, especially those local to your community. Aim to be the kind of consumer you hope to attract; shop small, leave quality reviews for products and services, and offer to link other businesses on your website.
Look for opportunities to cross-promote with non-competing companies with similar markets to your own -- you'll not only get the chance to introduce yourself to new people who may be interested in you, you get to support other entrepreneurs just like yourself. Win-win.
5. Encouraging employee volunteerism and activism
It may not be financially possible to let your whole team take the day off whenever they would like to volunteer, but it would be a great practice to allow your employees some paid time off to participate in charitable events and volunteer in their communities. Even just a couple of paid days a year would boost morale and encourage volunteerism.
Make activism a part of company culture by creating ways for employees to share their volunteer experiences and by encouraging them to bring friends and family to any company-wide events.
If you can work it into the budget, you could even host a luncheon or special event for the top volunteer participants around the office. And don't forget to lead by example by showing up to charitable events yourself, along with any other members of management.
6. Offering your talent and expertise
Remember that nonprofit and charitable organizations are often in need of talented individuals for a wide variety of tasks -- everything from website design to legal assistance -- that they may not have the budget to accommodate. Your talents could be invaluable to these nonprofits, and it doesn't take anything out of your pocket to offer your skills to them.
Keep this in mind if you decide to organize company volunteer events. Christopher Pruijsen, co-founder and CEO of homies.io, notes on his LinkedIn profile that his company spends 25-50 percent of its effort on "impact" projects. When I spoke with him, he noted that it may not be the best strategy to ask your team of software engineers to volunteer in a soup kitchen, but they could respond really well to the chance to teach STEM for a one-day immersion program at an inner city school.
"This way, maximum impact is achieved, and employees feel like truly valuable members of society," Pruijsen added.