Nonprofits and Small Business & Startups

Giving back all year long is good for business

October 31, 2017
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The holiday season is upon us, and many businesses are getting ready to make their year-end donations or launch their annual toy drives. While the holiday season is an important time for charitable giving, it’s also a time to reflect on how a business can contribute to the community all year long.

There are many businesses right here in West Michigan making a positive impact by creating local living wage jobs, volunteering time and talent, and protecting our environment through recycling and sustainability programs.

As we prepare our budgets and hearts for the giving season, it’s important to remind ourselves that giving back can take many forms. If you want your business to have a positive impact that reaches beyond the holiday season, here are some ways you can incorporate giving back 365 days a year.

Develop a company sustainability program

Giving back isn’t just limited to donating money or volunteering. Your business can make a significant positive impact on the environment by reducing waste through a recycling program or incentivizing employees to bike, ride the bus or walk to work. There are many small changes that add up to making a positive environmental impact on our Great Lakes region.

Encourage employees to volunteer in the community

There are endless opportunities for volunteering. Encourage individuals to get involved with causes about which they are passionate. Many nonprofits in Grand Rapids have corporate volunteer opportunities that make it easy for a team to volunteer for a couple days during the work week. Not only is volunteering a great way for your business to give back, but it also can build on your company culture and boost morale within your organization.

Create a year-round donation program

Although the holiday season is a popular time for corporate giving, there are a number of other ways you can continue to invest in community organizations and nonprofits important to your business. For example, The Rental Company gives back all year long through its Compassion Connection Program. This is a program where clients are encouraged to donate to West Michigan nonprofits. A client can receive a 10 percent discount (with a cap of $250) off their order when they donate that amount or greater to one of The Rental Company’s selected nonprofits. The Rental Company also gives back through in-kind donations and discounts on rental inventory for nonprofit-related fundraisers, events, open houses and more.

Hire locally from your neighborhood

Local jobs play a vital role in strengthening local communities. A big way you can make any impact is by hiring talent from the neighborhoods that surround your business. Tap into local talent pools by attending networking events in the community and reaching out to local schools and universities. You also can share your job postings with area nonprofits that can tap into their networks.

Get involved with local community events

There are endless opportunities in West Michigan to get involved with the community. Events like the Mayor’s Grand River Cleanup, Fork Fest, First Fridays on the Avenue for the Arts and Festival of the Arts are just a few ways your business can get involved. Whether it’s as an event sponsor or volunteer, getting involved is a great way to build awareness and be recognized as a business that cares about community.

Become Good for Grand Rapids

Have you ever wondered what impact your business has on the community, your employees and the environment? Local First’s Quick Impact Assessment can help you measure your business’ impact in each of these areas and determine areas where you can continue to grow. After taking the assessment, you can see areas where it might be easy to improve. It’s also a way to show your customers you are “Good for Grand Rapids” all year long.

It’s clear West Michigan companies know giving back is good for business, and giving back continues to be the foundation of our thriving community and local economy. I am thankful this holiday season for those who have dedicated their business to making a positive impact in our community. I hope this holiday season reminds us of why we give back and how we can continue to give back 365 days a year.