BiS: BusinessInSavannah.com - Business news for the creative coast.

Robertson: Businesses can make difference at holidays

The last few months of the year can be extremely hectic. That’s why you should be sure to make the right choices when deciding how your business can support a good cause all year long and into the busy holiday season.

Helping a good cause can range from volunteering services to donating products and money. Many companies have an established charitable giving policy that considers non-profits that are tax exempt. The charitable giving policy may also consider charities and causes that can benefit from the company’s employee volunteer commitments and product donations.

Do your research and choose the right charity. See how the charity’s mission and outreach make a positive impact. Determine if the charity has a good track record of managing the organization so that the people in need benefit from donations and support.

Decide how your company can make an impact. There are so many worthwhile charities that it can be difficult to determine where to focus your support. Sometimes it may be as simple as finding a way to make an impact.

After the recent deluge of hurricanes, a number of local businesses and employees collected monetary and product donations for coordinated hurricane relief efforts. From the Georgia Ports Authority to the Puerto Rico Restaurant in Savannah, businesses and their employees were doing their part to help hurricane victims by organizing collection drives and coordinating with disaster relief organizations.

You can choose a national effort and make a local difference. If you have a franchise, manage a retail giant or sell a particular brand, there are opportunities to make a local impact. In October, employees from Home Depot and Savannah-based Image Hotels were making a difference in local communities. Volunteers from the Home Depot Foundation worked on several parts of Hinesville’s Bryant Commons Park including a military memorial.

As part of a national effort for Habitat for Humanity, employees of Image Hotels’ The Fairfield Inn &Suites by Marriott Savannah Airport spent a day helping the Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity with a local build project. Fairfield associates participated in builds throughout the U.S. and the local hotel’s employees cleared debris, painted, cleaned, and organized the homesite.

The nature of your business may help you choose the right cause. It may be that you can simply offer your services and expertise for free. A financial institution may offer a free seminar while a medical practice could offer a day of service. In November, for example, Georgia Heritage Federal Credit Union announced it was offering a free “Are you at risk for cyber identity theft?” seminar that would be open to the public.

For the past several years, Howard Family Dental has offered a Free Dental Day each November. On that day, Howard Family Dental’s staff and dentists provide one free service (cleaning, filling or extraction) for both children and adults. The event is open to the general public on a first come, first serve basis and limited to the first 175 people.

Say “thank you” and take notes for next year. Be sure to thank anyone who assisted you in your effort, from employee volunteers to vendors, customers, and the media. Make note of successes and lessons learned so that you and your company can continue to grow a positive impact.

This column was compiled by Karen Geriner Robertson, director of public relations and client development at RobMark – Web • Advertising • PR. Contact her at karen@robmark.com or (912) 921-1040.

Comments