Why #GivingTuesday is Small Business’s Time to ShineGet your business and customers in the holiday mood by taking the opportunity to give back on Giving Tuesday.
After shopping’s biggest weekend — Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday — has passed, business owners are exhausted and consumers are “shopped out.” But in the nonprofit world, the fun’s just getting started.
Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, “Giving Tuesday” is a movement that leverages social media — using the hashtag #GivingTuesday — to encourage people and businesses to donate their time, resources and talents to local causes. According to GivingTuesday.org, in 2016, people gave out 1.64 million gifts and raised $177 million online. Individuals in 98 countries around the globe participated.
“Giving Tuesday is important because it heightens awareness about who the local nonprofits are, and the impact they are making,” said Nicole Kinney, a consultant at Forum Info-Tech. “As business owners, it is important we open our wallets on Giving Tuesday and throughout the year.”
Here are some of the ways in which business owners are getting into the holiday giving spirit and paying it forward on Giving Tuesday, along with ideas for how your business can do the same.
Cape Cod Select: Involving customers and their charities of choice
The owners of popular frozen cranberries brand Cape Cod Select have participated in Giving Tuesday for the past two years, sa id marketing and social media coordinator Amelia Topoulos.
The first year they took part, the brand asked their Facebook fans to submit the names of their favorite charities, from which the company randomly selected one charity and sent a $500 donation in the name of person who suggested it.
“It was great to get our customers involved and see what charities matter to them,” said Topoulos.
On your own social media pages, take polls and find out what causes are near and dear to your customers. It gets them involved with your brand and a philanthropic cause and is a nice gesture to donate in their name.
GroupRaise: Enabling restaurants to raise money while serving customers
A new platform, GroupRaise, lets consumers and nonprofits organize fundraising events at local restaurants, which are willing to donate a portion of the revenue from a particular meal to charity. According to Kevin Valdez, co-founder of GroupRaise, more than 6,000 restaurants have already signed up.
For example, a national or local organization can book a date and time with Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Louisville, Colorado, and the restaurant will donate 15 percent of the bill to the nonprofit.
According to a company survey, 95 percent of customers who attend a GroupRaise meal say they would return to the restaurant for more fundraising events.
If you’re looking for a way for your restaurant to give back while making sales, consider signing up on the GroupRaise website or partnering directly with a local charity.
eMazzanti Technologies: Starting a cause of their own
Jennifer Mazzanti, CEO of IT services firm eMazzanti Technologies, is passionate about whale shark conservation. The company’s “Blue Project” sponsors whale shark conservation tagging and tracking voyages by donating company technology and funds to these marine conservation initiatives.
Mazzanti said her efforts at giving back to a local and global cause have helped unite and motivate her employees, as well as strengthen relationships with clients, “who feel that their investment with us is going beyond meeting their technology needs to helping the greater good.”
Though it may be cutting it close to launch a philanthropic project before Giving Tuesday this year, think about what causes are important to you and make your business a partner in the initiative that you can give to year-round — and perhaps do something extra special for on future Giving Tuesdays.
The Norris Group: Matching funds for local nonprofits
By connecting your brand with local causes and charitable organizations, Giving Tuesday is a great way to increase goodwill among your customer base.
Aaron Norris, vice president of real estate investment company The Norris Group, said to look for smaller nonprofits “in your backyard” that could use your help.
“Find a nonprofit you’re passionate about, team up with them and offer a match fund,” he said.
For example, this Giving Tuesday, you could collect donations for the nonprofit at your store and match whatever amount is given with an equal gift from your business.
“There are so many grassroots organizations out there that are providing a multitude of services to uplift their community, and they are doing it sans federal and state allocations,” explained Kinney. “Give to them because they are a vital part of the community. Without financial support, they will not be there if (or when) you need them.”
Bonus: Get an end-of-year tax deduction
Don’t forget there are perks for being charitable on Giving Tuesday. Charitable donations to 501(c)(3) organizations on Giving Tuesday can be claimed on your business’s tax return. Check with your small business accountant to make sure your gifts comply with IRS giving guidelines.
Most important, though, is to give with generosity and a good heart — and get into the giving spirit of the holiday season.