How small businesses can give back to their communities, even during the pandemic

COVID-19 continues to ravage small businesses as tourism declines, capacity limits remain in place, and state lockdowns prevent people from leaving the house. Despite the challenges, many small businesses are remaining resilient and moving forward prioritizing growth without risking the safety of their customers or employees.

Among this small business movement are those owners looking for ways to give back even amid the pandemic. If you’re looking for opportunities to feed your altruistic hunger and support your local community, you’re not alone.

Small businesses can make a huge difference in the lives of local residents – and here’s five ways to do just that.

1. Partner with a nonprofit for Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday continues to grow each year, with more than $380 million donated in 2018. The average online gift hovered around $134. If you want to make a big impact, use this holiday to raise a few hundred (or even thousand) dollars for a local charity.

Consider posting a fundraiser on your Facebook page or encourage customers to visit your place of business and donate – directly or by giving a percentage of each sale to the chosen charity. You can even create special products or deals to support the nonprofit – using this as an opportunity to market yourself and your partner. Every donation (and the awareness) has a positive impact on that cause.

2. Offer discounts for people who donate

If you want to incentivize people to donate to a local cause, offer a discount or gift for people who donate. For example, you could offer a free dessert in exchange for a minimum donation amount or giveaway t-shirts related to your business and cause.

Also, consider asking for specific items – like gently used coats, unused socks, or feminine hygiene products so you can drop these items off at the charity that needs them. 

3. Use your platform to raise awareness

As a local business, you have a larger following than most private individuals. You also likely reach different people than the charity you want to support. Talk about your fundraising efforts on social media and other relevant communication channels. The more people who know about the cause, the greater the support response will be.

4. Work with other small businesses for more impact

If you want to continue expanding your reach, partner with other restaurants, service providers, and companies in your area or industry to drive even more support to a nonprofit. This can be in the form of a friendly competition to see who raises the most or in a discount partnership. For example, a specific donation could unlock discounts at three different businesses.

With the right network, the whole community can pull together to support those in need.

5. Have an employee Give Back Day

Local nonprofits appreciate money and items, but they can also use your time. Look into spending a day giving back where your employees can see the people they are helping. This could include working at a soup kitchen or spending a day sorting goods and handing them out at a food bank. Not only can you help your local community, but you can reinforce good will and team building within your organization.

These ideas can help you build up local residents in your community, and also help you promote your business and win over customers. The funds you raise and the time you donate will not be forgotten by those who you help – and those who supported your efforts.

Check out more resources on for guidance and strategies you can use to get through these difficult times.