By Cheryl G. Murphy, OD
Nov. 15, 2017
Independent optometry practices are small businesses that ask for the support of local communities. This month, there are two events that give you a chance to support other local businesses, and to give back to those near your practice who are in need.
Small Business Saturday: Nov. 25
According to its web site, American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 as “an annual shopping tradition dedicated to supporting small businesses and celebrating communities across the country.” American Express encourages shoppers to “shop small” on this day. They say that “small businesses play a key role in helping communities thrive [and by] shopping or dining at your favorite local places throughout the year, you’re showing your support for small businesses and making a positive impact in your community.”
Supporting Small Business Saturday is more than a good deed. When businesses sign up to participate in Small Business Saturday, they will be able to download customizable marketing materials. Those small businesses who sign up, and are also qualifying American Express Card-accepting small merchants, will have access to personalized online banner ads, signage, and will be listed on the “Shop Small” map.
You support other local businesses, they support you, and you get a marketing boost from American Express in the process. A win-win-win scenario.
Giving Tuesday: Nov. 28
I love the idea of Small Business Saturday. However, to paraphrase JFK, I say, “ask not what your community can do for you; ask what you can do for your community.”
Luckily, there is a day to remind us to do that as well: Giving Tuesday, “a global giving movement built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities” that is “fueled by the power of social media (using the hashtag: #GivingTuesday) and collaboration.”
According to its web site, Giving Tuesday “kicks off the charitable season…anyone, anywhere can get involved in Giving Tuesday and give back in a way that is meaningful to them. From fundraising to volunteering to pro bono service, Giving Tuesday is a great way to engage your community and to become a part of a larger worldwide movement that promotes generosity.”
On the web site you will find ideas and suggestions on how your group can give back and get involved. They also have social media tips, as well as a directory of local non-profit organizations searchable by zip code to which you may want to reach out.
If you’d like to make your Giving Tuesday more directly related to an optometry or vision-related charity, you can find a list with links to optometry, or vision-related, charities in an article I previously wrote for Review of Optometric Business, Giving Back is Good and Good For Business, Too.
The Benefits of Businesses Giving Back
There are many reasons why giving back is good, not only for your community, but for business. One of the most important impacts it may have is boosting employee morale. If an employee can sense that they are making an impact, not only in their job, but that they are using their skills or time for the betterment of the greater good, it engages them. According to an article in Fortune, “organizations are searching for ways to build on their teams’ skills and connect them to worthy endeavors that resonate with what they do at work.”
Besides employee engagement, there are many other benefits which businesses can reap when they sow kindness by donating their time, efforts, goods or skills. Another possible benefit is tax deductions, and just in time for the end of the fiscal year. The gift you give to your community may start a ripple effect for, not only you and your business, but for employees and the people around you.
So, just don’t ask your community to “shop small”; show them you will return the favor by giving.
How does your practice give back throughout the year? Have you participated in Giving Tuesday? Small Business Saturday? What programs excited and engaged staff the most? Which excited the community the most? What benefits did you and your business receive by giving back?