One of my favorite small business marketing strategies—which isn’t really marketing at all—is to hold an event or fundraiser to support a cause, show appreciation to customers or just to be a good community citizen. While large companies often can and do write giant charitable checks, it’s the contributions of small business owners that I find most memorable and endearing.
I suppose the main reason I appreciate small business charitable acts over those done by mega-corporations is that the small business owner almost always sacrifices something while in the act of giving, while the corporate senior leadership sacrifices nothing on a personal level, and the corporation itself is not impacted in the least. Moreover, big companies tend to befriend big charities, while smaller or sole proprietorship businesses often look to support smaller, more personal causes.
Another reason is that small businesses can be more creative and personal in their giving.
Sure, regardless of size, the goodwill generated by being charitable makes good business sense. The difference is, small business owners have hearts; corporations don’t.
In this vein, here are some of the cool ways small businesses have supported causes—and garnered some public rapport at the same time:
- The tiny tavern that threw an annual party where “admission” was the donation of personal care products and children’s toys, which were given to a local battered women’s shelter;
- The bait and tackle shop that throws a free fishing derby for kids every year. The shop provides the bait and trophies, and arranges for a free lunch afterwards.
- The funeral director who collects and repairs used bicycles for an annual holiday giveaway.
- The restaurateur who provides free meals to a group of volunteers on a specific project.
- The rug dealer who cleans and donates used rugs to charities.
Is there some way you and your business can find and support a cause, program or idea in a creative manner? Doing so can do more than help others—it can boost your spirits your business as well.