During this season of giving, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping for loved ones, preparing for holiday parties, and decorating our homes and places of business. However, we all know the importance of giving back to those in need. This holiday season, you can include charity into your business; you’ll be doing a good deed, but at the same time, you will be able to grow your business.
- Help out local food banks. – Food banks are always in need of volunteers. One way to help is to offer to pick up food door to door in your neighborhood and deliver it to the food bank. At each pickup, leave a business card or flyer with a promotion to donate a percentage of your proceeds to the food bank. However, be sure and ask for permission from the food bank or any charity you work with to leave your business card or other promotional item. Those who are kind enough to be donating food will welcome the opportunity to continue giving back while doing their holiday shopping.
- Donate products or services. – You don’t have to contribute cash to a local charity in order to have an impact on the community. Instead, you can offer pro-bono services to help those in need. Many school parent-teacher organizations sponsor tricky trays (chance auctions) to raise money for the band trip, new sports uniforms, or classroom technology equipment. Consider putting together a gift basket for the event that includes information about your business. Gifts donated can be anything from jewelry and cooking supplies to yoga classes and spa days. Your business will get some free advertising, and because you are actively benefiting the community, you may find yourself with a whole new customer base as well.
- Host a family-oriented event. – Keeping in mind the needs of your customers, it isn’t difficult to plan an event that welcomes young families into your place of business. How about a morning with Santa Claus? Your customers bring their children in to meet Santa, get a free picture with him, and have some complimentary milk and cookies. This is a hospitable way to usher in the holiday season, meet and greet your customers, and give your business a boost for the New Year.
- Support veterans’ families. – Put together a thoughtful care package filled with your products or vouchers for services to send to local families of veterans or active military. Include your business card and incentives for them to try your other products. Not only will you be supporting our troops, but you may even tap into a whole new customer base.
- Take advantage of community service opportunities. – Most churches and other nonprofit organizations perform regular community service. By joining these types of organizations, you can make giving back a regular part of your business model. Additionally, (again with the permission of the organization), you can leave your card and promotions to try the products or services your business offers. This is also a suitable way to initiate contacts within the community that will allow you to continue your charitable efforts.
By giving back during the holiday season, you not only do your part in helping those in need, but you also encourage loyalty among your customers by showing that you have a vested interest in the community. In these tough economic times, many people are looking for affordable ways to support their local business owners and would welcome such opportunities, especially as they prepare for holiday celebrations.
What are some ways your local businesses have given back during this holiday season? Please share your comments with us below!