Question: What's one way your business is giving back to the community (or globe generally) that you'd recommend to other entrepreneurs?
Question by: Ashley
Valuable Virtual Real Estate
"As a small bootstrapped startup, we don't have enough money to make meaningful monetary donations to the nonprofits we support. Instead, we donate to them by doing something that's easy for us but also very valuable for them. For us, that means free marketing on our site, which means a lot to the nonprofit but doesn't require a ton of resources on our end."
Get Out of the Office
"We love kids -- too often they can be overlooked by everyone, and all they want is to know that someone cares. We enjoy working with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization -- whether it's hanging with them for the day or putting on a baseball tournament. At the end of the day, it's not always about business. It's about investing in others, and that is true inspiration for any entrepreneur."
Group Up to Give Back
"My startup, Poshly, is a member of industry organizations that, as a group, can help affect change. Through industry organizations, we can advocate for changes in our industry that positively impact the world. Joining these groups is also a great way to be a thought leader and learn from others. I highly recommend that entrepreneurs seek out industry organizations that are giving back."
"When it comes to my business supporting the community, I look for opportunities that will help my business in the long term. For example, helping the local high school bring in new technology means that there will be more prospective employees with the right computer skills in my local area."
Tithe Your Expertise
"One thing we do at Ascendant Group is work with nonprofit organizations by donating our experts services, such as web development and brand strategy. It really helps the organizations get a critical function done, and it helps build a meaningful relationship that can even end up being leveraged to expand your business network."
Find a Partnering Nonprofit
"The ultimate purpose of your organization should never solely be to make money. Find a nonprofit to partner with, and add value. Focusing on just your business is shortsighted -- find a nonprofit that excites you just as much and get involved."
Match Your Mission
"There are so many opportunities to give back to the community, but your efforts should match your mission as a company. We are a gaming company, so we decided to give back in a fun and playful way. During the holiday season, we collected board games and donated them to a local children’s hospital. In the end, we donated over forty games to kids who weren’t able to spend the holidays at home."
The Bottomless Jar
"At our business we accept donations for the SPCA or ArtReach 4 Kids. Both employees and customers love to participate. Every six months, we host a community appreciation party and total up the cash that has been donated. Then we use social media to share how much we raised. This bottomless charity jar can be placed in any business!"
Give Where It Makes Sense
"There are many great causes that you could choose to help, but to maximize your effort, choose a cause that fits with your company. My company primarily hires college-aged students, so we opted to set up a college fund to help underprivileged youth afford a college education."
Pay It Forward to Fellow Entrepreneurs
"We’re always discovering new partners to co-host events, cross-promote, share resources and collaborate. Everyone wins -- entrepreneurs make strides with their startups through partnering, the community gets bigger and better events, and you’ll contribute a culture of doing favors, which can only come back to help you."
"Find a local group that you are aligned with in both mission and size, and use volunteering to serve as a community contribution and a team-building activity. At Sentry Centers, we partnered with Nourishing NYC, which was started within 30 days of our own company's founding. The days we spend planting in their urban gardens is the best team building that we do all year."
Be Available for Others
"Entrepreneurs are always looking for advice. Focus on your strengths, and make your knowledge and experience in that specific area available to those seeking input. For instance, I opened the US subsidiary of our German company, so I always meet with European entrepreneurs interested in doing something similar. I share as much as I can about my experience and knowledge."
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.