To say that the past year has been challenging on the underprivileged members of society is an understatement. Wherever we look, whether near or far, there are always needs that we can help meet, especially if our business or company survived the worst of the pandemic and the recession. If your business is doing well and you’re looking for ways to get involved in helping others, here are some charitable and philanthropic activities you can explore before the year ends.
Food packs for low-income households
A study by the non-profit organization Feeding America found that more than 50 million people in the United States are experiencing food insecurity due to the COVID-19 crisis. There are plenty of people in the country who don’t have enough money to feed themselves three times a day, let alone once a day. You can help combat this heartbreaking statistic by meeting these people’s urgent needs by extending short-term and long-term help.
To help put food on their tables for at least a few days, partner with food manufacturing companies like Lakeside to come up with food packs that you can distribute to low-income neighborhoods. You can even open a meal center when COVID-19 restrictions ease up a bit. At the same time, combating hunger is all about addressing the root of the problem, which is why you can also use your company’s platform to help address the systemic and structural inequalities that negatively and disproportionately impact the most marginalized groups and communities.
Fundraising for underserved students
The COVID-19 crisis has further widened the gap between privileged students and those who are from lower-income families. When schools were forced to transition to remote learning, not everyone could adjust because not all students could access working gadgets and a decent internet connection. When the pandemic started paralyzing all aspects of our public life, a district in Washington reported that 25 percent of homes in the area did not have Internet.
While it’s impossible to provide gadgets and a working internet connection to every marginalized student in the United States, it’s possible to help some of them—especially those who live in your immediate sphere of influence. Consult with the public schools near you to ask which students don’t have the tools they need for remote learning and how your business can help raise funds for them. You can raise funds by setting aside a portion of your sales for the cause and even by holding a raffle or contest with your customers. You can also have pay-per-view virtual concerts and events.
While our physical movement may be limited, there are plenty of ways to extend help through the virtual world. Reach out to non-profit organizations in your community who are already on ground zero and know exactly how you can help serve marginalized communities and if there’s any way you and your employees can help. Brainstorm ideas—something like staffing an online phone bank to gather donations and offer a gift in return that matches the donations raised.
Other areas you can help out with include the following:
- Supporting smaller local businesses
- Blood donations
- Assisting elderly neighbors with their tasks and groceries
- Identifying your employees who need financial aid
Even the simple act of amplifying the voices of those who need help is already a big help, especially if your company already has a large and loyal following.
Partnering with non-profits
The importance of partnerships between for-profit and nonprofit cannot be overstated. This is because non-profit organizations know exactly where the needs are and how they can be met, while your business may hold resources that non-profits do not have. Commerce and philanthropy go together, and you need each other’s help to reach as many people as possible.
Your business does not need to navigate COVID-19 relief and response alone. You will need the help and support of teams and organizations working with local food banks, homeless families, domestic violence survivors, frontline healthcare workers, and more.
Many people say that we need to do good to do well, but sometimes we need to do good; that’s it. Regardless of the potential benefits like getting tax write-offs, we need to do what we can to help others because it’s the right thing to do, especially during trying times. Just make sure that you talk first to the marginalized community you wish to help to know exactly what they need before you start. Let 2021 be the year your company embodies its values, mission, vision, and purpose.