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Creative ways small businesses can support nonprofits this the holiday season

Everyone has an important role to play in giving back this holiday season. Small businesses, despite their struggles, are finding ways to give back by donating their products to frontline workers and nonprofits. Nonprofits are also pivoting to give directly to their communities. Universally, individuals from all walks of life are encouraged to give their time and energy supporting nonprofits and businesses during the giving season.

There’s a wide range of creative ways that allow companies and individuals to give to, and support, nonprofits and businesses during the holiday season. Feeling stuck or seeking inspiration? Take a look at these areas rich with opportunities that will help make spirits merry and bright.

Create a volunteer time off (VTO) plan for employees

An increasing number of companies and organizations are creating volunteer time off policies for employees. VTO is a form of paid leave that allows employees to volunteer their time at an approved nonprofit. This gives employees the proper amount of time to do meaningful work with an organization that could use an extra hand.

As we continue to work remote, using VTO allows team members to share these special moments with one another. Create an email address, Dropbox folder, or Slack channel where VTO photos and videos may be submitted. Once the stories are ready to go, allow your team members to share them with the team. Employees may talk about why they chose a certain nonprofit and details about their volunteer experience. (Which may be in-person or even done virtually!) Seeing these stories will inspire other members of the team to use their VTO and create lasting, shareable memories while doing good.

Establish meaningful partnerships between small businesses and nonprofits

Amanda Ponzar is the Chief Communications & Strategy Officer of CHC: Creating Healthier Communities. CHC represents thousands of high-impact nonprofits across the United States, bringing communities, nonprofits, and businesses together around a shared commitment to better health and wellbeing.

Throughout COVID-19, Ponzar has been working with her team to establish creative, and meaningful, partnerships that support small businesses. Pie Five Pizza, for example, has been offering monthly “give back” days with CHC during the coronavirus. The business has been donating 15% of funds raised on those special nights to great causes. Even when restaurants were in lockdown, Pie Five gave back by encouraging pizza pickup instead of dining in the restaurant.

Unable to partner with a local small business or nonprofit? Consider establishing a partnership with the local Chamber of Commerce or an educational institution, like a school, that allows you to make a difference in the lives of underserved individuals.

Remember: giving back makes a difference!

In a recent CHC nonprofit survey, Ponzar says 95% of nonprofit organizations reported reduced funding in 2020. Nearly 20% permanently closed offices.

These percentages should not deter anyone from thinking they are powerless to aid and help others. ‘Tis the season for gratitude and where every helping hand gives nonprofits and businesses hope to survive and thrive.

“Every business, no matter how small, and every individual, can do something: donate money or in-kind goods, volunteer virtually or in-person, and raise awareness about good causes online with your network,” Ponzar says.

Seeking a great volunteer opportunity? You can find volunteer opportunities with the help of the CHC. Type in a keyword or zip code to see where the closest nonprofit or small business partner is near you — and lend a hand today.