Small Business- BIG Impact

10 steps to Creating and Launching a Giving Plan to Grow Your Small Business

The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s recent headline that in the US, the “top 10 Donations of 2022 totaled $9.3 Billion” was astounding and inspiring. Representing just under 2% of the total charitable donations in the US of $484.85 Billion (The Annual Report on Philanthropy), the largest gifts come from Foundations or other Trusts. However, when looking closer, it is the individual donors who collectively donated 67.4% of all gifts; individuals make the difference. And while Canadians may have donated substantially less overall, the impact made by individuals is no less significant.

When individuals take action, as they did after the frightening on-field episode suffered by the Buffalo Bills Demar Hamlin, amazing things can happen. In the span of a few days, over 250,000 people pulled out credit cards and contributed over $8.5 Million to his small charity. In Canada, last year, Tim Horton’s Smile campaign, at $1/cookie, raised over $12M in just one month. So far, individuals, dollar by dollar, have contributed over $75 million, all allocated to local charities. That’s a lot of cookies and even more smiles!

Small business is at the heart of the Canadian economy and possesses the potential to inspire and make a huge impact – in the workplace and around the family boardroom table.

Small Businesses:

  • Make up 98% of all employer businesses (1.2M businesses)
  • Employ 10.3 million (63.8% of work force)
  • Contribute 37.8% to the GDP

Now imagine if, as part of our work lives, each of us working in a small business were inspired to donate $10 per year (the equivalent of 5 large cups of Tim Horton’s coffee). From coast to coast, the seemingly minor gifts total a whopping $103,000,000! And the control over where those dollars go and how they can best help the community, becomes an opportunity within the workplace for employer and employee to work together.

Charitable Giving is Good for Business

Study after study reports that:

  • Overwhelmingly (>80%) consumers have a more positive image of a business that supports a charity.
  • Employees prefer to work in a place that actively promotes and contributes to programs and services that make a positive difference in the world.
  • Employees and consumers are more likely to be loyal to a business when it promotes and contributes to the welfare of the community.
  • Government recognizes and rewards the value of charitable giving by allowing favourable deductions against income (business owners should consult with a qualified tax expert to maximize opportunity).

Whether you employ 2 or 99 people, you can build your small business and make a meaningful impact in your community by creating a Giving Plan and launching your own Workplace Campaign.

Create a Giving Plan, Launch a Campaign

  1. Talk to your employees about how they feel about charitable giving.
  2. Invite them to share which experiences and charities or causes are important to them.
  3. Create a Giving Group to discuss and develop a list of charities or projects in your area they would like to support.
  4. Once you have agreement, give your Campaign a name and launch by announcing it in-store and on social media.
  5. Your Giving Group meets quarterly to share information on charities or programs of interest they have identified as possible recipients for their giving.
  6. Once or twice a year, the Giving Group makes decisions and makes the gift, as a team – a great photo op!
  7. Keep your customers aware of your initiative and invite them to ‘join the party’.
  8. Consider a matching funds program – i.e., for every dollar given by the employee, the business will match (depending on the size of the business the owner may need to set a cap).
  9. As you close out the campaign, as a team, make your gift and announce your good work, creating a real connection with your charitable recipient.
  10. POS signage, social media and word of mouth will enhance your profile in the community.

Owners and employees in small businesses possess the power to harness their purpose and passion, collaborate, and make a meaningful and lasting impact. Your initiative becomes a rallying point for discussion among your customers and the potential to deepen your relationship. In a short time, they will become promoters of your business and applaud your initiative.

Your campaign may not immediately hit the million-dollar mark, but small business campaigns can move the charitable giving needle in a big way, $1 at a time.


To find out more and for assistance in creating and launching a campaign in your workplace, contact R&D Philanthropy and lets get started.