Earlier this month, Adidas revealed their latest project: a shoe made entirely from reclaimed plastic ocean waste in partnership with Parley for the Oceans. Cosmetic company LUSH in the US is also working to preserve our underwater ecosystem: they’re campaigning to #savesharks with their ‘shark fin soap,’ whose profits will be donated to efforts like Fin Free that are working to make shark finning illegal.

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Although these examples are admittedly more large-scale than what the average company might be capable of, you certainly don’t need to be a widely-recognised brand to start giving back. It’s important for everyone – individually and as a group – to continuously work at solving issues affecting our communities, and charity work can actually be a smart marketing tactic for many small businesses.

Here are just a few tips to help small businesses get involved.

Decide On An Issue

Pick a cause that’s related to the business. Say you have a small business that designs and prints greeting cards. It might make sense for you to get involved with a charity that provides art classes for underprivileged youth, for example. You also want to consider your clientele: are they locally, nationally or internationally based? Make sure that whatever organisation you team up with reflects a similar audience, and the easier it is to identify the link between your cause and your business’ mission statement, the easier it will be to get involvement.

Do Your Research

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Once you’ve decided on a cause, but before you commit to working with a charity, make sure the group is registered with the Charity Commission, so search the register to make sure your desired organisation is genuine and legal.

Brainstorm A Fundraising Concept

Now the fun part: deciding how to get involved. You could sponsor an event, donate a portion of your earnings on a certain product or start a text campaign: for example, Cancer Research used the power of social media with the #nomakeupselfie campaign that raised £2 million in just 48 hours.

Here are 18 brilliant fundraising ideas to get you started.

Involve The Employees

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Getting involved in non-profit work is not only a good, moral idea; it’s a sound way to generate and maintain employee spirit. A 2007 Deloitte study on volunteering found that 62% of 18-26 year olds polled would rather work for a company that offers charity work opportunities. If you place corporate giving at the core of the company’s values, you will create a positive, enthusiastic working environment for employees.

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Volunteering, partnering up with a charity and getting involved in non-profit work in general is a win-win situation: you get to help with serious, relevant issues affecting modern society with the added bonus of good press for your business. A Cone Communications study from 2010 found that 85 percent of consumers have a more positive image of a product or company when it supports a cause. Even small-scale involvement can benefit your employee’s relationship to the company, the consumer’s reflection of the business and your connection to the community.

Website: Small Business Guide To Giving Back

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