‘Tis the season to give back.

If there was ever a year to show support to a local community, 2020 feels like that year. But what can businesses do to show support to their local community? How can you give back in a way that makes an impact on both the community and the employees of a company?

To help your business navigate the charitable waters this holiday season, we asked business leaders about how they were planning to give back this year.

Here are nine ways that small businesses can give back to their communities.

Open up a Conversation With Your Customer

When you are focused on growing a marketplace to be the biggest it can be, you can sometimes lose sight of the actual human beings that it’s made of. It’s hard to understand how to support a community without truly immersing yourself in it. So, we’ve organized several initiatives that involve our employees taking the time to get on the phone and just talk to our professionals. We go into these conversations with the sole purpose of listening, and seeing where we can help. Without talking to your customers, it’s hard to know what they need from you, so it’s very important to us that we do this exercise on a regular basis.

Zack McCarty, Qwick

Economic Development

Businesses can show support for their local communities by participating in organizations dedicated to improving economic development. I recommend researching these organizations’ upcoming events and seeing if there is an opportunity for you to volunteer!

Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional

Support the Next Generation

The best way to give back to your community is to help support the next generation! If there is a Boys and Girls Club or similar after school program in your city, consider volunteering, fundraising, or donating to them. By giving either your time or a sum of money, you can help give the children in your community a safe place to grow or the resources they need to truly succeed in life.

Nikitha Lokareddy, Markitors

Buy Local

Try and source everything locally! At Carrot Eye Center, we buy from local distributors and local vendors as much as possible. This cultivates a sense of belonging and is a two-way road.

Michael Herion MD, Carrot Eye Center

Collaborate to Build Relationships

Working with local companies is not simply about convenience, it’s a way to build relationships and trust in the communities in which one lives. While technology enables more global interactions, it’s also important to create local exchanges that result in mutual benefit and can lead to new opportunities.

Jonathan Cohen, Generated Materials Recovery

Take Advantage of All Opportunities

Cullum Homes is involved in many charity organizations. We chaired Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona’s annual fundraiser, Blueprints and Bluejeans, and we also sit on the board of the Heart Ball, American Heart Association. The Cullum’s are also a part of AIA Cran, Special Olympics, and ASU’s Fulton School of Engineering. It’s always rewarding to give back to the community you are in!

Rod Cullum, Cullum Homes

Replace Monetary Exchanges with Meaning

A strategy that I have found to be particularly effective is to shift away from a monetary exchange in times of crisis and hardship. Adopting a bartering system where you are exchanging things of unequal value creates an additional opportunity to maximize the exchange for all parties involved. At a local level, this starts with simply looking for opportunities to be helpful and provide value with no strings attached. This is a great way to create a rich network of interesting and like-minded individuals where you can start to collaborate in meaningful ways. Sometimes cash is the least valuable form of currency available to us.

Lukas Ruebbelke, Briebug

Promote Community Causes in Your Marketing

Learn about events in your local community and be present at events to build connections, support causes, and build your brand as a community partner. Make donations. If you can’t make financial donations, consider donations of your time, your location, or some of your products or services. Promote community causes in your marketing materials. Conscious consumers look for these kinds of causes and connections!

Colleen McManus, Senior HR Executive and Consultant

Attend Virtual Community Events

Businesses are looking for ways to connect with their remote workforce while they are working from home due to pandemic restrictions. When hosting virtual staff engagement events, company updates, and supporting community initiatives, give away gift cards and prize packs from local companies. Look for virtual community events that your team can sponsor and join in. Many annual fundraisers have gone virtual and offer a lot of remote options for companies to be able to participate.

Colton De Vos, Resolute TS

Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published.