10 ways small businesses can give back at Christmas

02 December 2021
5 minute read

Ah, December – a time of reflection on another year that has no doubt been difficult for so many, but has also been peppered with positives. As we look back, we're reminded of what it means to pull together as a community and this feeling may have sparked a notion in you to do something charitable. And what better time to give back than during the season of giving.

Giving back is known to boost community spirit, improve employee morale and even increase sales. Why? Because people value social responsibility and more people than ever are taking this into account when they shop or look for a new role. In other words, it does some good and makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy in the process – and who can argue with that!

If your business can spare some time, money or even products, it could really make a difference to people’s lives and bring your community together.

Here are some ideas of how your small business give back this Christmas.

1. Offer volunteer days for employees

Volunteer days involve the business setting aside a couple of hours or days each month for employees to volunteer at a local charity. You could either let your employees pick the charity they want to volunteer at, or you could select and vet a range of charities yourself for employees to pick from.

As well as providing much needed help, employee volunteering can do wonders for productivity, retention and attracting new talent. It’s makes employees feel more empowered and is also a great team building experience.

Some ideas for volunteer days your company could offer include:

  • Planting trees
  • Working in a community garden
  • Volunteering at a care home
  • Going to a school careers day to chat about what you do
  • Cleaning up rubbish in your local community
  • Helping out at your local homeless shelter or food bank

2. Give to the community

Depending on what your business does, there are several ways you could give to your community.

If you’re a service-based business, you could offer your services pro bono or for a discounted price. If you’re a subscription-based company, you could offer a certain amount of months for free. And if you run a retail business, are there any products that you could donate to people in need?

Some other ideas include:

  • Cafes and restaurants could donate food
  • Hairdressers and barbers could offer free haircuts and shaves
  • Artists and crafters could teach new skills in free workshops

3. Donate to charity

If you’ve experienced strong profit margins this year, many businesses choose to donate a certain amount of their revenue to charitable causes. This could be between 1-5% and would make a big difference to an organisation’s valuable work.

4. Offer an apprenticeship

You could help a young person learn new skills and see what the world of full-time employment is like, or help someone who wants a career change to upskill themself, by offering an apprenticeship.

Gov.uk has useful resources on their dedicated Apprenticeships site that you can use to find an apprentice as well as a hub of information.

You may also have local enterprise schemes that you can sign up to in your area.

5. Reward your employees

Rewarding your employees doesn’t have to mean offering a bonus – although there’s nothing wrong that! There are a number of things you can do that your employees will no doubt appreciate. It could be:

  • Organising an awards ceremony with fun prizes
  • Giving them an extra day off
  • Organising a Christmas dinner or a day activity
  • A hand written note expressing your appreciation for their hard work
  • A gift box
  • A funny thank you video from you and other senior members of the team, your clients or your favourite customers

6. Support fellow small businesses

Everyone needs a little love at Christmas, including the other small businesses in your area. This is a time for putting competition aside and uplifting everyone. And there are so many ways to shine a spotlight on others.

You could:

  • Give them some love on social media
  • Leave reviews about their custom or product
  • Do a ‘spotlight of the week’ display in your store by stocking their products
  • Offer a discount to those who show a receipt from another local retailer

7. Organise a fundraiser

Fundraisers are great team building exercises that raise money for good causes. Around Christmastime, many businesses agree to take part in Christmas Jumper Day, which is run by Save the Children and is taking place on the 10th December this year. This involves everyone coming into work wearing their favourite Christmas Jumper and giving some money towards Save the Children for doing so.

If you’ve missed this date, you could still run your own Christmas Jumper Day, or you could organise another event, such as a team sports day, a Christmas auction or something even more creative. For instance, Superscript has invited other insurance companies to take part in an esports tournament called Unbound, which will raise money for Rewilding Britain.

As an added bonus, you could match all donations raised by the staff.

8. Offer discounts to key workers

You can show gratitude to frontline workers and those making a positive difference in your community by offering a special discount. Some groups you could offer this to are health, social and home care services.

One way to do this is by registering with Blue Light Card, which offers high street and online discounts to anyone in the Blue Light community such as NHS, emergency services and social care staff as well as those in the armed forces.

9. Host an event

If you have a retail or office space, you could use it as a place to bring people together. Some ideas to do this include:

  • Hosting a launch event for a new business
  • Showcasing the work of local artists
  • Holding a talk or interview about a topic of interest
  • A games or quiz night
  • A storytime session or crafts workshop for children

If you don’t have the physical space or current covid rules prohibit an in-person event, you could host something virtually.

10. Partner with a charity

Partnering with a charity is about more than just donating money. Those who partner with charities make it their mission to become actively involved in the chosen charity’s mission. You should choose a charity that shares your social and sustainable goals.

Depending on the charity, this could mean organising regular days that your employees can help out, creating a programme together, donating a portion of your products or service time to the charity or sharing assets.

Go forth and give

Christmas is such a great time to make everyone feel special and we hope we’ve given you some ideas of how you can get involved during this time and beyond.

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This content has been created for general information purposes and should not be taken as formal advice. Read our full disclaimer.

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