How Can Small Businesses Build Community Engagement Initiatives?

Investing in employee volunteer opportunities and community outreach may seem like a financial burden for a small business. However, putting community service first can be a powerful growth strategy for your company.

Now more than ever, consumers seriously consider the moral integrity of a business before making a purchase. 86% of American consumers say they evaluate a company's commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) when deciding where to buy. And for a small business, engaging with the local community shows your customers that you care.

So, how does a young business with limited means become active in its community? This article will discuss a few ways to build CSR and environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.

Get Your Staff Involved in Volunteer Work

71% of employees say it is imperative or very important to have a workplace culture that supports giving and volunteering. But it can be challenging for employees to balance volunteering time with work. 

By creating a volunteer time off policy, employers can empower staff members to get involved in a cause they care about without losing out on pay. Some companies opt for a policy that designates specific days each year for employees to participate. Others provide an annual allowance of days off that employees can use as they wish.

However you structure your employee volunteering policy, GivePulse can help streamline the logistics. Our comprehensive CSR management platform allows your employees to search for participating community partners, select a day or time they'd like to volunteer and ask for time off. The system will then automatically notify the reporting manager, who can approve or deny the request.

Offer Giving Opportunities and Matching Donations

Donate to a local organization and encourage team members to do the same with individual and group fundraising campaigns and gift matching.

You can gamify that process by setting up a regional or company-wide crowdfunding campaign goal to challenge employees, groups and departments to commit to a fundraising goal. Then, have fun tracking your progress together!

GivePulse integrates with your payroll processing system, allowing employees to automatically deduct from their payroll to donate to approved 501c(3) nonprofit organizations. Your organization can get involved, too, by automatically matching gifts up to a certain amount. 

Set Up Mini-Grants

Think a company foundation has to be handing out millions of dollars in donations each year? Think again! Mini-grants are an excellent way for small businesses to fund community programs and organizations. 

Mini-grants typically range from between $500 and $5,000. Because of their scale, the grant application and reporting structures can often be more straightforward, relieving the administrative burden that grants can place on granting organizations and recipients.

Using GivePulse, companies can leverage our grant management tools to set up simple, intuitive workflows that allow partners to apply for grants. Administrators will then be notified and can review, process and score the application. Our tracking and reporting capabilities make it easy to report on which projects received funding and how grantees used those funds.

Sponsor a Local Event

Local events like marathons, festivals, and other fundraisers provide an opportunity to support the community while raising your company's profile. Most local events offer tiers of sponsorship that provide exposure in exchange for an in-kind or cash gift.

Sponsoring a race or run? Double your impact by setting up an employee team and fundraising for a local nonprofit or agency!

The Bottom Line

For small business owners, getting involved in your local community can help you expand your audience, enhance your brand recognition and build customer loyalty with the people who matter most. It will also boost employee morale.

If you're just starting out, CSR doesn't have to break the bank. By selecting a few simple ideas and committing a realistic amount of resources, you can build a robust program that you can scale as you grow.

Using GivePulse, your business can track employee volunteering, manage grants, streamline employee and company giving, list, connect and communicate with community agencies and simplify your CSR and environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting. 

Ready to empower your employees to participate in and understand the impact of positive social change? Schedule a demo with GivePulse today.

About GivePulse

GivePulse's mission is to enable everyone in the world to participate and engage in lifting their community to new heights. We do so by providing a platform to list, find, organize and measure the impact of service-learning, community engagement, philanthropy, corporate social responsibility and volunteerism.

Founded in 2012 in Austin, Texas, GivePulse works with 650,000+ groups, including colleges and universities, nonprofits, businesses, K-12/school districts and cities and municipalities. Together, we connect millions of people in an effort to create positive social change.

Start making a difference today by visiting