Connecting with Your Community

Let’s start with the basics. There are a few reasons why your business should consider donating. Charitable giving is good PR, and it makes sense for business, especially for small businesses that depend on their communities to keep them afloat.

“What distinguishes small business from large-scale corporations is the connection with the community,” said Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo, owner of Bath, Body, Candle Moments. “People want to … shop at a small business because a small business cares about them as individuals and the causes they care about.”

Charitable giving demonstrates that you give back to the community and are in business for more than profit. As a small business, while you don’t get as large a tax deduction as big corporations and enterprises do, don’t overlook the other benefits of philanthropy.

“As a single-store retailer, it is important for us to give back to the community,” said Brad Schweig, vice president of operations for Sunnyland Furniture. “There isn’t really any tax benefit for us, so it comes back to being a part of our community. We do think it helps us from a marketing standpoint, as we want people to know that we are local, our team is local, and we support making our local community a better place.”

Building your network
Charitable giving is also a way to build alliances with other organizations and network with individuals who are potential partners. Donating to a local organization can be the start of a long-lasting relationship. [Read related article: 6 Ways to Get Involved in Your Local SMB Community]

“Develop an ongoing relationship with the charities you support,” said Kris Putnam-Walkerly, president of Putnam Consulting Group, a philanthropic advisory firm. “Don’t limit giving to the end of the year. Talk to the nonprofit about ways you could help year-round, such as volunteering, sponsoring events and inviting the charity’s CEO to speak to your local business associations. And remember, this is a two-way relationship. Ask the charity if there are easy ways they could publicize your support, such as in their donor newsletters.”