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9 ways for companies to give back during the holidays

Growth and Operations

9 ways for companies to give back during the holidays

Updated: March 8th, 2022

A present that represents the ways your business can give back this holiday season.

For many businesses, the holiday season is one of the busiest periods of the year—but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to give back. Whether you want to donate to a specific organization, champion a meaningful cause, or get involved in your community, there are endless ways to embrace the giving spirit. 

Before you get started, take a moment to consider your intentions. Reflecting on your business’s values and mission can help you identify particular causes or groups you want to support. Once you pinpoint your focus, it’s time to get creative. 

Here are nine different ways to give back during the holidays. 

1. Encourage employee volunteering

Encouraging your employees to volunteer during the holidays doesn’t just extend your business’s overall impact—it can also improve your employees’ general happiness at work. Plus, volunteering gives your employees an opportunity to put some of your business’s values—like compassion or integrity—into practice. 

Here are some ideas to make volunteering work:

  • Designate a day to volunteer together. You can leave the workplace for an activity or set aside a few hours during the work day to package and deliver meals or gifts. 
  • Give your employees paid time off to volunteer for a cause or group of their choice. 
  • Encourage employees to share their volunteer activities ahead of time, so other people can join in. You can even hold a contest: the person who gets the most coworkers to volunteer alongside them wins a company-sponsored donation to the organization of their choice. 

2. Give away a percentage of sales or revenue 

One of the most effective ways to make a difference is to donate a portion of your business’s income. Not only do customers appreciate the opportunity to shop consciously, but your employees may be more engaged and motivated knowing that their work is contributing to a good cause.

Here are three steps to take:  

  1. Pick your recipient: Start by considering what’s important to you and your business. Depending on your goals and values, you may want to choose a local nonprofit, find a cause that aligns with your mission, or donate to an organization that’s addressing a topical problem, like a hurricane or wildfire.  
  2. Choose a percentage: Go over your business finances and consult your accountant to determine what percentage of revenue or sales you can realistically give away. Keep in mind that donating can actually incentivize customers to make purchases, helping you bring in even more revenue than usual. 
  3. Advertise your efforts: Let customers and clients know what you’re doing, so they can get involved. You can call out your donation campaign on your website landing page; post about it on social media; send email newsletters or promo messages; put a sign in front of your brick-and-mortar establishment; include digital donation options at checkout; or update your ecommerce product titles and descriptions. 

3. Participate in an event

Supporting other businesses and charities is just as valuable as starting your own giving initiatives. You may already know of an event you can help out with, but if not, reach out to your professional contacts and local business community to ask how you can support them.

Depending on your resources and time, you could attend a fundraising auction and bid on items, buy tickets for your employees to attend an event, sponsor a sports team or booth at a farmers market, or help set up or clean up an event. 

4. Donate to a charity

A tried and true giving option is to donate a chunk of your business’s cash directly to an organization or group of people who need help. Not only is donating an easy way to make a positive impact, it’s also a good opportunity to involve your employees and clients.

Here’s how you can spread the giving cheer:

  • Donation matching: Tell your employees what you’re donating to and why, then offer to match any individual donations they make up to a certain dollar amount. Matching donations can multiply the amount of money you donate by thousands of dollars, spreading your impact even further. 
  • Client-specific donations: If you run a service-based business and have a key group of clients, consider donating money to an organization that’s important to them. You can make a donation in their name, then send them a holiday card letting them know about the donation and thanking them for their business. 

5. Host a food or gift drive

Hosting a food or gift drive is a direct way to give back, and can also help bring your staff together. Do your research to partner with a local organization or shelter that accepts goods like clothing, toiletries, non-perishable food items, bedding, or toys. 

You can either ask your employees to bring items directly into work or send them an online registry to purchase from. If your business has a brick-and-mortar location, you can even invite customers to drop off goods or donate a dollar with their purchases. 

6. Treat your employees 

Giving back isn’t reserved for causes or people outside your business—you can also give to your employees. Treating your employees is a great way to reward them for their hard work and keep them motivated through the end of the year.

Depending on your employee needs and your business resources, you could offer them:

  • A generous holiday bonus
  • An extra day (or more) of paid time off
  • A thoughtful, personalized gift
  • A gift card for groceries, gas, or meals
  • A stipend for wellness activities, like fitness subscriptions or spa services

7. Hire a paid intern or apprentice

If you want to make a lasting impact, consider giving a work opportunity to someone who needs a boost. If your business could use an intern or apprentice—either as a seasonal, part-time, or full-time employee—reach out to your local staffing agency. 

Another option is to research organizations that pair businesses with candidates who’ve historically had a harder time getting work, like veterans, ex-felons, or high school students. Giving someone a paycheck and work experience can be life-changing; plus, you might gain a talented, committed employee as a result. 

8. Give back to other businesses

Supporting other small businesses is a great way to give back to fellow business owners, their employees, and their communities. Think about which businesses in your community or industry could use extra attention and help. 

Some businesses might have lost revenue or customers due to pandemic-related closures, for example, while others might still be recovering from the effects of a natural disaster. And some business owners may need help getting started or growing.

Here are a handful of ways to support your fellow business owners:

  • Patronize other businesses: Use another small business to buy materials for your workplace, purchase gifts for your vendors and partners, or cater a holiday meal for your employees. 
  • Encourage employees to shop local: Compile a list of local small businesses that need support, and encourage your staff to buy from them. 
  • Partner up for a campaign: Team up with another business for a cross-promotion or event. 
  • Refer businesses: In addition to writing positive reviews, make an effort to refer local businesses for opportunities. 

9. Donate your product or service 

As a business, you have the ultimate offering: your products and services. Call around to your community to find out which groups and organizations could benefit from your business’s products and talents. In addition to nonprofit organizations and shelters, look into community groups, schools, libraries, hospitals, and local businesses. 

If you own a restaurant, for example, you could prepare a holiday meal for a local shelter. If you run a car wash, you could offer free washes to teachers, school administrators, and medical workers. Or maybe you own a small graphic design company; in that case, you could extend your services pro bono to a nonprofit organization that needs a new logo or website landing page. 

There are plenty of ways your business can give back during the holidays and throughout the year—you just have to get creative. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author writing in her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the views or opinions of Funding Circle.

This content is for educational and information purposes only, and should not be taken as financial, tax, legal or HR advice. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.


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