Black Friday has come and gone with spectacular success. Cyber Monday is also passed and your packages are getting loaded onto UPS trucks even as we speak. So, today, it's Giving Tuesday and you should make every effort to share with those who need help.

We spent last Thursday being thankful for all we have, so now, let's help those who need. Giving Tuesday is in it's fifth year, reminding us to give back to the community. It's global and takes advantage of social media to get the word out. (You'll see #givingTuesday on social media.) How can you and your business participate? Here are some ideas.

Challenge everyone to do a kind deed for someone.

Giving isn't always about money. Money is good, but so is kindness. Ask your staff to do one nice thing for someone--it can be a co-worker, a family member, or a stranger. Just do something nice. It can be complimenting someone on his hard work or thanking the cashier at the grocery store. It can be giving a ride to someone who needs on or going on a walk with a friend who is in a crisis. It can be offering to buy lunch for a homeless person or picking up lunch for your busy co-workers. The only catch is this kind deed needs to be done for an actual human, face to face.

Challenge everyone to give to the charity of their choice.

Any great cause is a good place for your money to go, but if you need help finding one, Giving Tuesday has a list of participating charities and events in your area. If your staff want to participate in an event, give them extra vacation time to participate and help out.

Do keep one thing in mind--you should never force people to give money or their free time to a charitable event. You don't get bonus points for having 100 percent participation if your employees feel their jobs or performance ratings are being held hostage by the boss's desire to be charitable. Force is never charitable. You may have staff members who truly can't afford a donation to any charity right now, and that's fine. Encourage, but don't follow up and don't do a check off list. Remember, charity is kind, and bosses should be too.

Pick a cause for your business.

Some companies have a charity that they support. If your company doesn't have one now, Giving Tuesday is a great time to pick one. Don't pick one that's too political or controversial--you don't want to alienate any of your staff members or clients. But, do pick someway for your business to help out your local community, whether it be through cash donations, a food drive, or helping to clean up the city park. (Boring legal note: If you require your employees to clean up the city park, they need to be paid for their time. If it's truly volunteer, they do not.)

Choose helpfulness and kindness.

I think most of us will agree that 2016 has been a slap you in the face kind of a year. It's been difficult for many of us in many ways. Take Giving Tuesday as the time to shift the bad to the good, making 2017 a much better year for all of us.

Published on: Nov 29, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.