If you’re running a small business, chances are you don’t have an endless supply of cashflow. Budgets are tight and you’re constantly looking for ways to save costs. Those efforts may include hiring a virtual personal assistant, building and managing your own website, and hiring more freelance contractors than permanent staff. When it comes to corporate social responsibility (CSR), you likely don’t have a grand sum of money to hand over to a charitable organization every year. That doesn’t mean your company can’t give back to the community, it just means you need to get creative.
Share your Knowledge
Entrepreneurs, by nature, are multi-talented. Preparing investor proposals, marketing products and services, compiling invoices and quotes, and hours of admin are just some of the things an entrepreneur has had to do by themselves at some point. This kind of experience builds up a wealth of knowledge, which others can benefit from.
Starting an internship program where students or graduates can shadow you or your staff is a practical way to start sharing the knowledge. Too many qualified graduates in South Africa are struggling to find jobs, so offering real working experience can give them something valuable to add to their CVs.
If you’d like to make an impact on more people, consider hosting free workshops with topics related to the knowledge you’ve collected over the years. Find communities where access to skills and resources are limited and spend a day or two sharing as much knowledge as you can. This can include tips for registering and running a business, marketing on a budget or preparing the perfect sales pitch.
Working in a digital world makes knowledge-sharing easy. If you don’t have the time to host workshops or the patience to teach interns, you could always start a blog. Publish your tips and experiences and share them online. You can send tips to local universities and colleges, and even create free email campaigns with Mailchimp to send insights straight to the inboxes of those who want to know more about what you do.
Offer your Services
Giving back can come in many different forms, other than monetary donations. If you sell a product, consider allocating some to give away for free. Your product can either be used as is by the receiver or used as a prize in a raffle in order to collect money. If you offer services, extend those services to communities in need for free.
Put a big moneybox or jar at your company’s reception desk, with a sign that explains you’re collecting donations for a charity. Staff, suppliers and clients will be able to contribute whenever they have spare money. If finances allow it, you can offer to match the amount in the jar at the end of the year so the charity receives double the amount that was collected.
Giving back isn’t strictly a year-end effort, you can collect various necessary items every month. Toiletries, non-perishable foods and clothing are needed all year round, so those in the office can choose a different cause every month and spearhead collections.
Doing something is better than doing nothing because you don’t have a CSR budget. Whether you’re a big brand or a small startup, there is always a creative way to give back.