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Perhaps it's the holiday spirit; maybe it's the political state of the world; or it could be that you are just a generous and considerate entrepreneur. Whatever the reason, small business owners are looking for more ways to be charitable and give back to their local communities. And there's evidence that giving locally as a small business can mean getting a lot back in return.
So if you want to make sure your small business does good at the same time it does well, here are three ideas.
Charitable giving might be the most straightforward approach to helping out your local community. And while some charitable gifts and donations can be tax deductible, not all are, so you may want to be careful if your business donates to charities. Keep an eye on where donations are going, make any offers of deductions to customers legal, and maintain adequate records of any charitable giving.
And if you're trying to encourage charity on behalf of your employees, be careful about any agreements to match donations. Having a clear policy on which organizations are eligible for matching and any limits on matching can help.
More and more small businesses are trying to be eco-friendly just as a matter of course, but there can be business benefits to going green as well. Government grants, tax incentives, and of course good will from clients and customers are all good reasons to make your small business more sustainable, and you're being kind to the environment as well.
Sure, you might've gotten into the business to make money, but priorities can change, and you may decide that being a non-profit entity can better serve your goals and your community. There are quite a few options to the standard 501(c)3 status, so find out which one might be right for your company.
Legal issues for small businesses can arise, even when you're trying to do the right thing. Contact a local commercial attorney to make sure you're doing good, and doing it legally.