How small businesses and start-ups can support their community despite limited resources

When it comes to charitable giving in business we often hear about large corporate and workplace giving programmes where employee donations are matched, and generous annual contributions are gifted. These programmes are highly important to charitable organisations that rely on monetary donations to sustain the work they do. Yet, this isn’t the only way for organisations to give back. Small businesses, even when faced with limited budgets and resources, can make a meaningful impact through charitable giving – driving both a connection to local communities and fostering a greater sense of purpose among employees.

Long-term support from local, small businesses forms a core and integral part of the donations Lighthouse Foundation receives each year. In fact, some of our most consistent donors are members of our local community, who utilise their resources to make a difference and add value. These supporters are an essential part of our community and are highly valued by our organisation. We regularly see these organisations go beyond the monetary and provide all manner of services, goods and networking opportunities that directly supports the work we do and benefits the children in our care.

When looking to integrate a giving programme into your business, start by identifying a cause that compliments both the values and capabilities of your organisation. For example, your organisation may have an excess of skills or knowledge that others aren’t privy to. This could be anything from marketing or tech expertise, buildings and grounds maintenance skills or access to physical spaces that could be used for meetings, functions and events. Any service or goods you provide is something a not-for-profit doesn’t have to fund themselves with their limited budget. It all helps to make a positive difference.

Giving back can also have great benefits for small businesses. Some not-for-profits, including Lighthouse Foundation, seek to maximise and capitalise on these relationships for both themselves and their supporters. While making a positive impact is important, you should also feel valued for your contribution and charitable organisations often offer amazing networking opportunities with like-minded people.

Business leaders should also recognise the importance of building strong communities, both within and outside of their business. Developing and strengthening these will ensure that employees foster a greater sense of connection and fulfilment at work. We know that when employees feel good about their employer and the organisation they contribute to that it increases staff retention and sense of purpose.

Regardless of your industry, identifying how you can give back through knowledge and resources is a good place to start. By offering your services to others, your organisation can develop positive recognition within the broader community while also developing a greater sense of internal connection. It’s an attractive trait and quality as both an individual and a business, to be so community focussed that despite the effort of growing a start-up, you still have the capacity and desire to do more for those around you.