Should small businesses be giving back?

In 2016 there are many prominent charities, all battling to direct the most funds possible towards their good cause. 

In 2016 there are many prominent charities, all battling to direct the most funds possible towards their good cause. 

It is a positive sign that in the world of big business, more companies are switching on to corporate social responsibility and the benefits that blue chip organisations can bring to those in need.

The pressures on SMEs primarily centre around keeping their business up and running, especially in the face of unpredictable economic environments around the world. For this reason, some SMEs find it hard to devote time, or resources, to do charity work. But that needn’t be the case, and there are plenty of ways that small businesses can ‘give back’ without sacrificing crucial work time. 

Simple and fun fundraising ideas can be based around holiday times. For example, Christmas 2015 saw many SMEs have a Christmas Jumper Day, when employees came in wearing a variety of knitted, and often garish jumpers, while donating a small amount to charity in order to take part in the mini competition. 

The competition structure is a good way of killing two birds with one stone; a fantastic opportunity for team building away from the formalities of the office environment, while also generating cash for a good cause. 

Some firms organise a charity quiz; always popular with the competitive and sharp thinkers within your workforce. Each team provides an entry fee which goes towards a particular foundation or charity. Of course there will be a prize as well, but this needn’t cost the earth, often a nice bottle of wine which will be a fraction of the total amount raised through the various teams’ entry fees. If you are a super small firm, why not combine with another company in the same building or work site? There is always a way of giving back, even if it means getting creative.

Then there is charity bingo, which is catching on like wildfire. Bingo is one of those communal games that appeals to any employees with a sense of fun. Churches and charities in the United States have taken the lead in turning bingo into a cash cow for charities, while even in UK bingo halls where there are cash prizes, there is still a large charity element. Wink Bingo is one of the leaders in charity bingo, having combined with the Peter Andre Fund to raise £50,000. They have produced this very useful guide to charity bingo, and how you could set up a game for your company.

So there are a wide range of options when it comes to charity activities for SMEs. Sometimes it is necessary to take the bull by the horns, and that’s why individual charity campaigns can work wonders. If you are a managing director that likes a challenge, why not train for a marathon, or some other form of daring feat such as a bungee jump? It’s a sure fire way to drum up some interest in your charity push and receive sponsorship.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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