Toast talks to Saskatoon-based serial entrepreneur Jess Tetu. This column is all about her seventh — and final — key to entrepreneurial success: give back.
#7 – Give Back
#7 – Give Back
“Your greatness is not what you have, it’s what you give.” -Jess Tetu
I believe that in business, it is our responsibility to give back. As entrepreneurs, if we expect our community to support our business by shopping with us, dining with us, or buying from us, we need to be prepared to give back to that community.
Giving back isn’t always about financial contributions either. Finding time to dedicate yourself to an initiative is just as meaningful and sometimes even more impactful.
Tips for giving back
- Ensure that what you are committing to aligns with your business, as well as your own personal morals and values.
- Many fundraisers and community programs will offer marketing and business exposure in exchange for donations or sponsorships. An example would be featuring your logo and website in an event program. Utilize this opportunity, and you can optimize your marketing budget, plus give back at the same time.
- Share your experiences with your team and your customer base in hopes of encouraging and inspiring others to give back too. In turn, showing your community support will help others choose to support you back.
- Stay educated on your community’s needs. One way to stay informed is to follow community social media pages and create contacts at multiple facilities, programs, and events to build valuable relationships around your community.
- Request information on areas that need help so that your contribution creates the best value. Often residential shelters will get multiple donations of the same items but will be very much in need of other specific items. Communicate clearly, so you are genuinely helping.
How to give back as a business
- Choose charities and make a monthly, yearly or one-time financial contribution.
- Sponsor an event that is connected to a charity or community program.
- Purchase a corporate table at a charity gala or fundraising event.
- Donate items for silent auctions and door prizes to fundraising events that align with your brand.
- Create a campaign to donate a portion of sales from a specific item (or service) to a charity of choice and encourage your customers to help reach a specific sales goal.
- Do a collection of food, books, toys, shelter supplies, warm winter gear, or other items that local programs may need. Reach out to local shelters, schools and charities and ask what they could use help supplying. Focus your efforts on a specific need — these types of contributions can be a huge help to these centres and have a large impact.
TIP: Offer a discount to customers, or enter their name in a prize draw in exchange for donating or dropping off items. This encourages your client base to assist in making a difference and it shows your customers that you are committed to your community!
- Donate your time to a program—for example, volunteer for Habitat for Humanity or at a local shelter or soup kitchen. Encourage your staff or team to assist as well. Share your experience publicly in hopes of inspiring others to do the same.
- Take part in fundraising activities by registering as a participant. Whether it’s a marathon, a steak night or a bingo fundraiser — take part in these little community events if and when you can.
- Use your platform to share awareness. Share an upcoming event, fundraiser or program on social media and list specific details of where your customers and followers can get more information.
Remind yourself of this simple rule: if the community around your business does not thrive, then where does that leave your business? As an entrepreneur, it’s in your best interest to help those who support you and your business. It’s also important to note that the impact is not just on the community, but it truly can fill your heart. Do what you can, when you can and remember that you never truly know how far your impact can reach!
“Sometimes in life, some people just need a little help, and if you can help them, then you should!” –Wade Jones (my late father)