Community is at the core of so many small home-based businesses—whether yours is an offline or online business, service-based business or product-based business.
So how can you start giving BACK to the community, once you start making a little bit of money with your business?
There are 3 key ways you can give back to the community as a home-based business owner:
1) Discount your rates for non-profits or struggling businesses
One of the wonderful things about actually getting paid what you’re worth is that you’ll then have the luxury to discount your rates for non-profits (or new, struggling businesses) that can’t afford your regular rates. You might choose to charge up to 50% less than what you would normally charge.
Just be sure that you set aside a certain amount of time or percentage of work for non-profits/struggling businesses, so that you don’t end up ONLY working with them (or else you’ll have a good chance of finding yourself in a struggling situation too, which won’t help anyone).
2) Do occasional giveaways or special promotions when you’re starting out
For example, when I launched a new freelancer program a couple months ago, I gave it away for free for the first 48 hours.
In another example, a freelancer in one of my online courses gave away free editing services to one lucky winner when she launched her freelance editing business.
These are excellent ways to give back to the community while also increasing awareness about your brand, and/or getting testimonials/work samples in return.
3) Donate to charities and/or non-profit organizations
Every bit counts!
While there are some charities that I donate to on a one-time basis (or on a yearly basis), I’m a BIG fan of monthly donations.
Think about it: $10/month is the cost of a bottle of wine, a few cups of coffee, or a tube of mascara. But, over time, that $10 can really add up for a charity. Plus, donating to charity is good for tax purposes. So not only will the charity benefit from your donation, and not only will you be doing an awesome thing for an important cause you believe in, but you’re ALSO saving dollars in the long-term. Basically the best thing ever!
I really encourage you to not choose randomly choose a charity or start donating *just because*. Instead, take your time to research various charities to figure out which is exactly right for YOU.
You’ll want to think about a few things…
How much do you know about this organization and what your money will go toward?
Do your research. What do you know about the organization’s mission, mandate, and the way they carry out their activities? Have you been involved with this organization for a while?
For example, I attended the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre for years before I donated to them. Likewise, I used the services at the Women’s Health Clinic myself before I started donating to them (and it helped that I care very strongly about their values around women’s rights and that a friend was involved with the organization). And I also got to know the directors of Winnipeg Harvest (and got to know the organization pretty well, because of my employment at a partner non-profit to them) before I started donating to them, too.
*cough* shameless plug for the organizations I care about *cough* 😉
What causes are nearest and dearest to your heart?
There are TONS of charities out there. Try not to just choose whatever is in the news the most! Instead, really think about what your personal values are and go from there.
I’m not saying you need to be intimately acquainted to an organization before you start donating to them, but there is so much value in seeing the amazing work they produce BEFORE you start giving to them. I 100% believe in the organizations I donate to, and I was a passionate advocate for them before I started donating to them. Caring deeply about the causes you donate to is important!
What kinds of organizations are you already donating to?
Once you start donating to one charity, you will likely begin donating to more and more (especially if it’s a manageable $20 or less per month, per organization to begin with). And you might discover that you gravitate to one particular area.
For example, I realized that Mr. Science and I often donate to local, regional charities, and to social causes. As a result, we’re going to focus on environmental and international charities for the next ones we add to our list of monthly donations. (We choose a new charity every January to add to our monthly donations list, so this means that every year we continue supporting our favourite causes, while starting to support a new cause, as well.)
It is our duty to give back to the community when we have the means to do so. Here’s how to do it!
Want to learn more about taking action on your values? The Reimagining Small Business Town Hall is an incredible place to start. (By the way, you can check out my About page to find out more about how I’m committed to giving back to the community.)
I strongly believe that it is our duty to give back to the community when we have the means to do so. It doesn’t need to be a huge amount, either! Every little bit adds up and contributes to making a huge difference over time.
Of course, you should always take care of yourself as well. Paying the bills is very important too!