Few people realize how often small businesses are solicited for donations to worthy causes. Some businesses are hit harder than others.

Grocery stores, print shops, for example get many requests each week to donate food or printing to the cause.

One company I worked with had a yearly budget just for donations to local non-profits.

While the causes are worthy and certainly worth supporting no business can always respond to every request. We still have to keep the doors open and the business running.

Here are a couple of ways to give back without breaking the bank.

Get Employees Involved

Your employees might have their favorite causes too. Here are some ways to get them involved in the community.

  • While volunteering at a soup kitchen might be a worthy endeavor a carpenter might be more valuable helping out with “Habitat for Humanity.”
  • What about allotting a set amount of money each month for employees to give to the charity or non-profit of their choice?
  • If you have periodic slow workloads give employees a day off with pay every quarter to volunteer with an organization of their choosing.
  • Many non-profits need expertise they can’t always afford. You may have employees that can help set up computer systems or upgrade a non-profit’s billing procedures. Plumbing and heating issues are also a good way to give back.

Get The Company Involved

  • Sponsor a team or a charity event for a local non-profit. Five K runs are popular fundraisers.
  • Create a yearly scholarship for the children of your customers. People can sign their kids up at your business during the year.
  • Many civic groups have a difficult time finding free or low cost meeting space. If you have a large enough conference or meeting room allow the use of that space for local groups.
  • Creating internships or mentor programs giving high school students work experience is a great way to give back. (See Some Final Thoughts)

Some Final Thoughts

A minimum wage of $4.25 per hour applies to young workers under the age of 20 during their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment with an employer, as long as their work does not displace other workers.

After 90 consecutive days of employment or the employee reaches 20 years of age, whichever comes first, the employee must receive a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.

Or, in the case of Montana, our current minimum wage is $8.15 per hour.

How do you or your company give back? Comments below

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