10 Easy Ways to Give Back with Your Small Business

10 Easy Ways to Give Back with Your Small Business
  1. Mentor (big brothers, big sisters, other mentorship programs)

  2. KIVA

Make a loan to an entrepreneur across the globe for as little as $25. Kiva is the world's first online lending platform connecting online lenders to entrepreneurs ...

3. Support Local

4. Adding a social aspect to your business (TOMS, portion of your business back)

5. Pro Bono Work

6. Amazon Smile & GiveBack chrome extension

7. Go Green

8. Raise money for charities

9. Volunteer

10. Join a board of a non-profit


Jenna Redfield is the leader of the Twin Cities Collective, the largest resource in the Twin Cities for bloggers, small business, entrepreneurs & creatives.

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Hey, what's up everyone? It's Jenna coming to you live, I guess recorded. I don't know. I like saying coming from Sudamericana here, Golden Valley with the twins is collecting podcast. We have been gone for a week. I feel so weird. I feel like I haven't recorded so long. Because the last podcast that went out last time was like pre recorded. So it's been probably like three weeks since I've recorded. So basically this week's episode, we have a new month. So it's July and our topic this month is giving back as well as focusing on charities, nonprofits, and volunteering, so hoping this month to do some sort of volunteer project, whether it's I would love to do it as a group. So I'm kind of looking at maybe I looked at the Second Harvest Heartland, which is a place where you can actually like put together food and give it to people, but it looks like they're full for the month of July. So I'm looking at other options for like large groups, but we can even maybe make up our own

And find a place to do that. So we have just a lot of options for doing that. One thing I did want to talk about is different ways that you can give back with your business. Because honestly, being a small business owner, it's a lot. It's it's something that a lot of people don't have the guts to do. And I've realized this over the last few months, is it's a lot of work. And it's a lot of stress. It's a lot of things that you might not

know, going into it. When I first started my business. I had no idea what a small business was like, I was just like, I just want to do something fun for myself. And there's been a lot of things I've learned over the years. But one thing that I've always found really awesome is companies that give back, whether it's their time or money and for a lot of small businesses, a lot of the things that they can do is give time but not money. And I'm the kind of person where it's like sometimes your time is just as valuable as money. So today we'll be talking about ways you can give back with your business.

Not just with money, but with actually your time. And these are just some ways that I've thought of the things I've seen other people doing. And I think it's just helping make the world a better place. So I'll just get started. This is going to be just 10 different ways. I have like a list right in front of me I'm going to be talking about so the first one is becoming a mentor. This is great because a lot of people in small businesses, they tend to be someone who is skilled at something. So if you are maybe your 20s or 30s, or even older than that, and you have had years of experience and you're just looking for a way to give back. I think being a mentor. My mom was a big sister with the Big Brothers Big Sisters system. That is a great one for if you're wanting to work with kids. There's other mentorship programs for budding entrepreneurs. There's a lot of different ones like say you're in tech, there's girls that code there's a bunch of different ones for kids if you're looking to be a mentor, but you can also be a mentor to adults as well. This is something

That I've looked into being a mentee as well as being a mentor because I feel like I still need to be a mentee about certain things. But there are other ways where I'm like, I could totally be a mentor for maybe like a college student or somebody who's just coming into the world of being in the real world. I guess coming out of college college students are have a huge heart. I have a huge heart for college students, because I think a lot of them are really scared about what what are they going to do with their life going that transition from college to being an adult, it's really hard. Like my first year out of college was probably the one of the hardest years of my life not, maybe not the worst, but one of the hardest in terms of, oh, man, this is a big transition. You have to structure your time I got to find a job. I gotta, you know, learn what I want to do with my life. So being a mentor is a really great way to give back as being a business owner. The second way

I thought of is, financially there's a organization that I've heard about for a long time. It's called the

Kiva. And what I love about it is it's focused on entrepreneurs. And what's cool about it, though, is it's actually not a way you just give your money and never get it back. It's actually a loan program. So you make a loan to an entrepreneur across the globe for as little as $25. And it's the first in the world for online lending platform that connects lenders to entrepreneurs. So basically, what they do is you send money, and it helps a small business owner get started, whether it's, you know, startup costs, usually it's in, again, third world countries where people, it doesn't take as much money to start a business, but they need those basic things like say they're starting a shoe making business, they have to get all the equipment, and they have to maybe learn about it, and it might cost $500, but then they could start making money, pay back the loans and then have a successful business. What's cool about this is you get your money back. So I mean, it's really no loss to you at all. I think everyone should be doing this especially

They don't have the funds, because they know they're going to get their money back. Which is cool. But I mean, obviously, you might just want to give some of your money away knowing that you won't get it back. But this is a really cool way where you're, if you're really strapped for cash, you can actually legitimately know that your money is coming back to you. So I would recommend looking into Kiva. Even if it's just like something that you do once a year or something, I'm not sure how long it takes for you to get the money back, it might take one or two years to get the money back. But I mean, it's just cool to know that you're actually helping someone start a business and they can actually pay you back for what you've given to them. So that's the second way that you can give back with your business. The third one is supporting local. I've been really focused on this a lot lately in the past year, buying instead of from like some of the big companies buying locally made objects I went to like maker fairs, I go to a lot of pop up shops, and I always try to buy like one or two things because I feel like supporting local businesses is so important, especially being the leader Twin Cities collective like I want to know

That, like I've actually made an impact by actually supporting people that are trying to live their dreams. So by going to different local events, maybe like joining some local groups that offer things, I think that's a really good way to give back not just with your business, but to the community, especially the Twin Cities and Minnesota community. I think that's an awesome way to just really be, I guess, like, practice what you preach in terms of, you know, being supportive of small businesses. So the fourth thing that you can do to give back with your business is adding a social aspect to your business. So like, for example, Toms Shoes, they have the give one, I guess it's get one give one program or whatever it's called, where basically they sell a shoe and then they give a shoe away to someone. A lot of businesses are doing this. I think Warby Parker does it too with their glasses. It's like you buy one and then they give a pair of glasses to someone in need. I think a lot of

These businesses have actually done really well because people feel like by buying from them, they're actually doing something good.

One thing I want to start doing the Twin Cities collective, once we launch some of our bigger platforms is actually give a portion of our business back, like 1% to like local entrepreneurs or something within the entrepreneur space, I'm not sure if I want to do. I'm not sure which organization I want to choose. But I think it'd be cool to give back to people that are starting their own businesses, maybe even supporting Kiva or other organizations like that. So that's something that I really want to start doing. I think adding a social aspect is as long as you're doing for the right reasons and not just being like, oh, I'll get so much more followers because I have like, I'm a nice person, like I think actually doing it because you want to is the most important part because otherwise people see right through that. So having something where you're giving back maybe a portion of your sales or a portion of your revenue, to actually help people is a really good thing, not just for you but for your business. Alright, the next

One pro bono work. So this is something that I actually have talked to a few people on the podcast about. I think Kylie, who was on a few months ago, talks about how she has a certain number of hours a month that she does like pro bono work or basically meeting with people and helping them with their business. So if you are someone who you like, I want to, I want to help people. I do want to get paid though, because I obviously want to make money and run a business but like, there's times where I just feel like I should help someone because they might not have the money. I think by adding that specifically in like on your website is like I do pro bono work for a certain number of hours a month. I think that that will really show that you're very structured with your time that you spend helping people. I've really considered doing this because I really do like helping people plus it helps get the word out that you're a great person you've done

something to help someone so I think that's something that you should definitely look into is doing some pro bono work and so many people have worked with me pro bono. So I just want to say thanks

To everyone who has because

we are you know, starting up our business and I don't always have the funds you know, which means is collective as a basically a community group to be able to pay everything so for and plus I always give back more than sometimes I feel like I take I I really like to promote the people that are helping me you know, I don't just say like thank you and then don't do anything I obviously like really, really promote them and then also tell my friends about them. So doing pro bono work, it's, it's great for you. It's also great for the people that you're helping and I think it's a really good way to give back plus it just I think it just helps your business in general and it makes you feel good. Okay, this next way if anyone here use Amazon because I am an Amazon addict, like I probably buy something from Amazon at least once a week at least like I buy so much stuff on Amazon.

Getting the prime account is like the best deal ever. Like the shipping is amazing and it comes really fast. But there's a program that they have called amazon smile, which is actually been around for quite a few years. Basically

What you do is instead of going to Amazon com, you go to www or whatever.smile.amazon.com. And what it does is allows you to have a portion of what you like pay to go to a charity, which is super cool of Amazon to do that. And so usually there's like a list of a bunch of different organizations you can choose from to send a little bit, I think it's the money. I don't think it like cost you any more. It's just like a portion of the sale from Amazon, which is awesome. So you literally are giving away stuff for free. You know, there's also another, it's called give back. It's a web browser extension that allows you to give back just by going on the web. So it says using a small safe, unobtrusive advertisement at the bottom of each new tab the extension can generate donation revenue from their users without the use of actually paying any money. The extensions website has been very firm about the ad not opening any new windows or causing any avoidance is

Free user whatsoever. So like, you can really just be searching the internet and you're donating to charity. Like, isn't that the coolest thing ever? So amazon smile and this thing it's called. See, what's the name of it? It's called give back. Let me see if it's still still existence. Yep. So you just gotta give we are give back.com and then you can add it to your Chrome extension. So it's almost like an ad. It's so cool. Like it says, support rain forest and wildlife conservation. That's awesome. So using the giveback Chrome extension, you can legitimately help while you're literally like, going on Netflix and watching stuff. So

that's something I'll put the link to that in the description of this podcast as well. Because I think that's something that is so important to just do every day. Okay, so the next one is something that is something I don't really talk about. And also don't really do, which I know I should is go green. I think being aware of what you're doing with your business and making sure that you you're taking care of the environment and the world is really important. So one thing that I know it sounds really crazy, but it's been super popular topic lately is straws, drinking straws. A lot of businesses and restaurants have been getting rid of them because they hurt animal wildlife in the ocean. And so I think by maybe even just doing little things like adding recycling, or just doing things that are just like kind of common sense, to help the environment is really important. I know Apple is really wanting all their products to be like recyclable and full of things that are, I guess, like good products. So going green, obviously, I think is something everyone knows they should do. But I think just thinking about it in the ways that your business works, is important to just maybe slowly help the environment and help the earth because we know it's ours to take care of. Okay, number eight, raising money for charities. So this is something we've done before twins is collect, we actually did

a fitness event where all the money that was paid towards the event went towards a nonprofit called still kickin, and so we did that was like over a year ago. And that was really, it felt really good. I'm like, I felt like we were giving back like, I mean, I didn't make anything from that. So that wasn't like it was just something that was like, you know, like people are want to work out. And instead of giving the money to the organization or having it be a free event, all the money that was brought it was I think was like $10, a person went straight to a charity. So that was really cool to be able to like have that check, go there. So if you have like an event, or like a fundraiser, maybe like picking a charity, and having all some of the funds, or all the funds go towards that. It also like, I know it sounds bad, but it makes you look good, too. I mean, that's why a lot of people do it. But at the same time, you're also like legitimately helping a charity or nonprofit, that's something that I really want to start focusing on more with twins is collectivism while is, you know, maybe doing some more charity, fundraiser type things. Alright, so number nine, volunteering. So this is something that we're going to be doing as a group, I mentioned this at the beginning. And I think it's something that we could totally do together. And I just I thought of an idea, and I'm going to probably do it and I got to figure out, we're gonna have to find a location to do it at but I think it'd be so fun to just kind of come together and volunteer and just, you know, meet each other. I think a lot of our events are either workshops, or just kind of like a party, that's all about us. But I'd love to come together and actually help other people. So I'm going to be looking into that and hoping that we can all come together at some point. All right. And then finally, number 10, is joining the board of a nonprofit. Now, one thing that a lot of people I see doing when they hit it big, or they've been in business for many years is joining boards of a charity or an organization. Sometimes you'd have to be invited. So I mean, you might want to like start reaching out to some of these groups and getting on their radar. But you can also probably just like ask the person running the thing, if you can join their board. Usually you have like a role, whether it's like Treasurer or something, but usually like you're you have like a job, but it's not paid. So you're, it's like volunteering your time. But it's helping usually like a nonprofit or something that is you're kind of putting your expertise. So say like you're a marketing guru, and you want to help a charity that literally doesn't know anything about marketing, you can be on the Marketing Board, or be the marketing chairman of the board or whatever. And actually, like start helping that out, I have not been on a board. So I don't know much about being on a board. But if you are at the point of your life where you're like, you know what I've been in business for, like over 10 years, and I want to like, you know, start giving back, I think that's a great way to do it as joining a board, especially if you don't have time to work monthly with people. I'm not sure how it depends on the board. Some words only meet once a year, some boards meet once a month meet every week, I think finding one that will fit with your time because obviously you don't want to spend too much time on something that will not always bring you the money you need to survive. But by being on board, that's a really great way to do it. So those are my 10 ways. So if you have any other suggestions for ways that we can give back at Wednesday's collective or how you can, how you give back, I would love to I'm going to be posting on Instagram with the obviously the podcast artwork. So when this goes up, head on over to our Instagram. So www.instagram.com forward slash Twin Cities collective, and comment on there, I'd love to know if there's any other ways that you give back with your business because I am always looking for new ways that we can as a huge, large group of the collective give back. Because that is really important to me. And it's really important to I think hopefully everyone really try to bring in people into this collective that are have a giving heart. And I think that everyone does everyone I met with Twin Cities collective just seems like they're always so like, willing to give back or willing to volunteer or willing to not just be about themselves. I think by being too selfish and not really caring about others, you're really hurting your own business because people don't want to work with you. And so, being that kind of person is so important. So all right, well, that is my episode for today. This is gonna be a short one. Next week, we'll be back with an interview of an awesome organization that I work with on a regular basis. And and then I'll be having a few others small charities that I really just want to talk about and share and support and kind of get, you know, on people's radar because sometimes they don't always have the voice and we have a voice here on the podcast. So

if you're interested in letting me know about a charity or an organization, send me an email Jenna at 2016 dot com. Or if you want to volunteer with our event, make sure to stay tuned in the Facebook group. It will be coming very soon hoping that that will be something we can do as a group and you can actually come and help and also meet people and make friends. So that's gonna be super fun. So thanks guys so much for listening, and I'll talk to you next week.

Thanks for listening to the Twin Cities collective podcast with Jenna Redfield. Make sure to click subscribe if you haven't already. And make sure to leave us a review on iTunes. Thanks again for Ian at Studio Americana for producing this episode, as well as Melanie Lee for designing the podcast art and thanks to Nick I had less for the use of the song in the intros outros. Thanks so much again and I'll see you next time.