As the holidays approach, many of us are wondering how to hold on to some of the magic of the season in a year marked by intense change and uncertainty. Even if your business has weathered 2020 relatively unscathed, you probably know of countless others who haven’t. This doesn’t just extend to small businesses: the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted our friends, our families, our neighbors, and our cherished institutions.
The holidays may look a lot different this year, but one thing is certain: if ever there was a time to come together and support one another, this is it. Giving Tuesday, which takes place December 1st this year, is the perfect opportunity to do so.
Founded in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y in New York City, #givingtuesday traditionally follows Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Over the past eight years, it has grown into a global movement of generosity, inspiring hundreds of millions of people and raising billions of dollars for worthy causes.
Be a part of a global generosity movement
Giving Tuesday benefits your community as well as your business. Research shows that 85% of customers respond more favorably to businesses that support causes they care about, and 83% of Americans wish that those they did business with would support good causes. More importantly, your act of giving can become part of a greater generosity movement, making a tangible impact on your community and world.
Use this Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to plan how you can give back—not just on December 1st, but throughout the year. Find a way that works for you, then tell everyone you know and encourage them to join you in spreading the generosity.
Seven ways for your small business to give back this year
We tend to think of giving in terms of time or money, but the possibilities are actually much broader than that. That’s why we love Giving Tuesday’s website, which has a variety of different ideas and resources for giving. Here are seven different ways they encourage people to give—plus our ideas for how to make each of them work for your small business!
- Give time. Many of the volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch, Points of Light, and Idealist now have ways for you to help out virtually, so you can respect social distancing measures while supporting a worthy cause. If your small business has employees, consider organizing a staff-wide volunteer day. While in other years your team may have served food at a local shelter, wrapped gifts for a toy drive, or stocked shelves at a food bank, this year you could opt for more virtual opportunities, like calling potential donors on behalf of a favorite charity, helping set up a fundraising email campaign, or volunteering to host a virtual workshop or event. (A note on small business tax deductions for donated time: You can deduct costs incurred during volunteering, like travel or supplies, but not your or your staff’s salaried time).
- Give voice. How can you use your existing connections, audience, or platform to spread the word about a cause you care about? Even sharing a story about your favorite cause is a way to give back and inspire others; spread it on your social channels and be sure to use the #givingtuesday hashtag when you do! Another idea is to devote a marketing day to a specific charity. If you have a specific marketing budget (for example, a daily Google AdWords budget), choose one day to divert your marketing efforts from your company to a local charity, and solicit donations on their behalf. Even adding a line to the bottom of receipts or invoices to promote your favorite charity and explain why you support it can boost awareness and encourage people to give.
- Give dollars. Search Giving Tuesday opportunities in your local U.S. community or globally, or start a giving circle with friends, family, and even other local businesses. Find your favorite cause or fundraiser and give according to your ability and wishes. Your business could consider sponsoring a matching gift program for donations employees make to their favorite causes, or donating a portion of sales to a charity of your choice. (A note on tax deductions: You can generally deduct cash donations to qualified charitable organizations up to 50% of gross income, though that limit sometimes varies based on the charity. Remember you’ll have to deduct the value of any “gifts” you receive in return. For example, if you donate $300 and receive a dinner worth $50, you can only claim $250 as a charitable deduction. The nonprofit will typically provide a letter confirming your deductible donation amount.)
- Give goods. Whether it’s books, toiletries, clothes, or food, there are organizations out there that would happily accept the goods you can collect! Your small business can organize a community-wide collection drive to accept donations for delivery to a food bank, homeless shelter, domestic violence organization, or nonprofit of your choice. If you have a physical storefront, use it as a drop-off location for your donation drive. Another way to give is to consider donating business inventory, equipment, or supplies to an organization that could put it to good use. You could also invite customers to submit nominations for local organizations that could use your products, and then pick a winner to receive them for free. (A note on tax deductions for donated goods: You can deduct the fair market value for any good donated. However, you’ll need to file a special tax form if you give valuable donations of goods.)
- Give kindness. It can take less than a minute to do something kind, but the impact you have on someone’s day can be lasting. As individuals, there is a lot we can do, from checking in on our neighbors to showing gratitude for essential workers. For a trove of great ideas, be sure to check out the Power Of website. You can do the same as a small business. For example, you could sponsor lunch deliveries for essential workers in your community or spotlight the customers or employees you’re grateful for on your website and social platforms.
- Give talent. Do you have skills that could help your favorite cause? Volunteer your expertise in HR, technology, marketing, or planning—or even create a quick online tutorial to help others. To find organizations that are looking for your talent and skills, check out Taproot+. Magnify your impact by donating the skills or services your small business provides, or working with your employees to identify the industry knowledge and talent you possess that could also benefit local organizations, and offer free consulting or workshops around them.
- Give together. Giving Tuesday is about bringing people together in a global movement of generosity. By getting together with friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and even “friendly” competitors, you can strengthen your community and have fun doing it! The impact of anything you choose to do as a small business can be amplified when you invite others to join you. Work together to hold a donation drive, host a community conversation about important issues, chalk the neighborhood with messages of kindness, or find your own unique way to give.
Find more ways to give
The Giving Tuesday website has several resources for those who want to make a positive impact, including a toolkit for small businesses, so be sure to check it out for even more ideas! If you’re stuck on ideas for charities to support, we recommend checking out Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.
2020 may not have been what any of us expected, but we can make it better by giving back together. Every act of giving counts, especially now. We hope you‘ll join us in sharing the generosity!
Start a 14 day Free Trial and streamline your business with PaySimple:
Start My Free Trial