Feature: Moving America’s Heart and Soul: Small to Medium Business Driving Change

Small Businesses Bring Together Charities and Clients

Author: Steve Woods
Published: January 09, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Thank you to Spark Business from Capital One for sponsoring this feature highlighting small business.

Despite a lagging economy, charitable giving by business continues to expand, and in non-traditional ways. There are a number of benefits to your small business contributing to the larger community’s needs through not-for-profit organizations, including:

  • Additional, positive exposure to your company, as the contributions you make help shape how the community as a whole sees you.
  • Joint partnerships with the arts community can lead back to free advertising, through a “Thank You” in printed programs and advertising.
  • Supporting events and galas can lead to free event tickets to provide to your employees, or raffle off to interested customers.
  • Necessary breaks to help balance out your end of year tax burden.

To what extent should you roll up your sleeves and help out, and with whom do you partner to support your community?

Marrying Your Small Business to a Charity

For many businesses, supporting a not-for-profit organization in its mission is more than about providing a donation at the end of the fiscal year — it’s part and parcel to what they do as a company. Giving is integral to their identity. Take Tom’s Shoes, for instance.

In 2006, the company didn’t even exist, until founder Blake Mycoskie visited a community in Argentina, and noticed that many children there owned no shoes. Mycoskie created the concept of Tom’s Shoes, which sells a pair of shoes, and as part of the transaction a pair of shoes is donated to communities like the one he visited. It’s win-win for the customers, Tom’s Shoes, and needy communities around the world.

It didn’t take long for Mycoskie to bring 10,000 shoes back to Argentina with him. The concept has grown to include a line of Tom’s Eyewear. As part of what they do, employees of Tom’s are very proud of their contributions, and often get to travel with Mycoskie and his family to provide the donations.

Perhaps you can’t restructure what you do to such an integral level, but are there aspects of your small business’ goals that could have your charitable heart and soul merged within?

Virginia Beach-based carpet retailer Mark Gonsenhauser found a way to help those in need in his community, simply through the daily functioning of his Rug & Carpet Superstore. In 2010, Gonsenhauser was asked if he could take some rugs off the hands of a client, and his “big idea” simply clicked in his head.

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Article Author: Steve Woods

Tech Geek. Digital Sommelier. Tea Aficionado. Founder of http://www.kupeesh.com Twitter: @YouKnowSteve

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