If you are a small to medium business owner, chances are you don't know about #GivingTuesday, but it's in everyone's interest for you to find out.
On 2 December 2014 #GivingTuesday will be held for only the second time in Australia. It is a national event that looks to kick start the giving season (peace, love, goodwill, santa) and encourage individuals and businesses to engage in a charitable act for a nonprofit.
Now aside from all the warm fuzzy, altruistic, socially good, self-evident, kumbaya reasons why this is a good idea, it is a fabulous opportunity for small to medium businesses to attract new customers, build customer loyalty and demonstrate their corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Customers love being associated with a brand that is doing good in the world. They love it. It makes us feel happier with our purchasing decisions, and in some cases morally superior ('My coffee shop offers pay it forward coffees for the homeless'). Don't knock it. If you are an SME in a competitive environment you want a slice of that action.
Jumping on board a national event like #GivingTuesday is a great way to strut your CSR credentials at least once a year (though obviously more often is better for all concerned). And getting in now while it is only in its second year can make you one of the cool kids, '#GivingTuesday? Oh we've been doing that since 2014'.
Taking advantage of the opportunity could not be simpler.
1. Find a nonprofit or charity you care about. They could be local or national. There are thousands of incredibly worthwhile charities out there desperately keen for support. If you are struggling to find one, you can look for some on the #GivingTuesday Australia website.
2. Work out what you'd like to do for the charity and jot them a short email with an offer of support, noting it is for #GivingTuesday. Your offer can be anything. You can do a fundraising morning tea in your office, you can offer $1 from every sale made in your store on the day, you can dollar match one of their events, or you could donate some pro bono services (e.g.: haircuts for homeless clients). You could even use the date to launch a workplace giving program. There are more suggestions available online. If the nonprofit accepts your kind offer, move to Step 3.
3. Register at the #GivingTuesday Australia website as a partner, and detail what you are doing for #GivingTuesday. You get a mini page (free publicity) with your logo and a blurb about what you're giving.
4. Promote your event on social media, in store, and in emails to customers/staff. Use the hashtag #GivingTuesday.
5. Take photos or videos to document what you do for #GivingTuesday and strut your CSR credentials for your staff, your customers, potential customers and the world to see. You are also helping to boost the profile and exposure of your chosen charity and the invaluable work they do.
Getting an image boost for your brand is the commercial pay off for doing good. Of course that comes in addition to the making-the-world-a-better-place, warm fuzzy, kumbaya payoff.
Your business wins, you win, the charity wins and society wins. It's a no brainer.