How can small businesses give back to the community?

Key takeaways

  1. You don’t need to be a big corporation or have deep pockets to give back.
  2. Engaging in community initiatives not only benefits society but also enhances brand loyalty, resilience, and employee engagement in the long term. 
  3. There are several ways for businesses to contribute, including supporting charities, organising community events, making monetary or in-kind donations, creating mentorship programs, and volunteering or offering pro-bono services.



Running a small business often means juggling several responsibilities with limited resources. As a business owner myself, I face these challenges firsthand! However, even in these early stages, there’s a golden opportunity to give back to our local communities and make a meaningful impact.

In this article, I’ll share five simple yet powerful ways we can start making a real difference.

The sheer impact of giving back 

As businesses, we are very much a part of our communities and must step in where it counts. In times of social, environmental, and political uncertainties, strong-knit communities are more important than ever. They provide us with a much-needed support network and a sense of belonging in a volatile world. 

By getting involved in local initiatives, businesses build meaningful relationships with residents and local community organisations. It presents the chance for companies to utilise their expertise and resources to address pressing issues— be it supporting education, healthcare, environmental conservation, or poverty alleviation. 

Planet Protector, for instance, partners with the NSW Department of Justice & Corrective Services. Through this initiative, we employ final-year prisoners at our Warehouse where they receive equal wages and benefits, enabling them to make a fresh start. This allows them to build savings as well as skills before their release, which has been proven to reduce recidivism rates.

Such initiatives create a positive ripple effect in more ways than one. They not only contribute positively to society but also foster long-term brand loyalty, helping organisations build resilience against risks like economic uncertainty.

Five powerful ways to positively impact your community

Here are five important ways small businesses can get started:

Supporting local charities and non-profit organisations

Partnering with nonprofit organisations that can benefit from your resources is a great way to make an impact. This support doesn’t have to be financial; you can, for example, leverage your expertise to design solutions for social issues or participate in campaigns to amplify visibility. 

The Australian Red Cross is a great example of businesses from varying industries that support communities in disaster-struck areas. However, you don’t need to partner with large-scale NGOs— you can also throw your weight behind local grassroots organisations with a hyperlocal impact to make a difference.

Organising community events

Setting up local activities that bring community members together can go a long way in channelling our collective power. If the idea of organising a large event feels daunting, start small by inviting local neighbourhoods and gradually scale up when possible. What matters is that we take action, no matter how small.

A stellar example is the Clean Up Australia campaign, which has rallied millions of Australians to clean up and protect their local environments. Currently, Australia is one of the world’s leading consumers of single-use plastics, with 145,000 tonnes of plastic ending up in our environment every year. By collaborating with nonprofits focused on marine conservation for community events or fundraisers, businesses can make a significant difference in tackling this widespread issue.

Gecko, Environment Council

Donations and partnerships with local initiatives

If you can make a financial contribution, consider allocating a portion of your profits to support local causes, events, or organisations through direct donations. Or, if monetary support isn’t feasible, consider offering sponsorships or in-kind contributions. This could involve sponsoring a local event, donating products or services to fundraisers, or contributing to community development projects.

Organisations such as 1% for the Planet are leading the way by encouraging businesses to start making a positive environmental impact. Members commit to donating at least 1% of their annual revenue to support environmental conservation causes through a list of pre-vetted charitable organisations.

Internship or apprenticeship programs for local students

We should not only address current issues but also nurture the next generation of changemakers. There are several ways to do so, be it through mentorship opportunities, industry-related workshops, or sponsoring scholarships for local students pursuing higher education.

At Planet Protector, we partner with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to hire interns from STEM fields through our internship program. This allows undergraduate students to gain boots-on-the-ground experience in applying their technical and analytical skills to real-world solutions.

Volunteering and pro bono services

Another powerful way that businesses can make a meaningful impact is by offering pro bono services or encouraging employees to volunteer for worthy causes. Research conducted by Deloitte indicates that purpose-driven brands experience a significantly higher employee engagement rate, with 73% compared to just 23% for non-purpose-driven brands. 

There are several renowned organisations in need of volunteers. OzHarvest, the leading food rescue organisation in Australia, is dedicated to preventing food wastage by delivering surplus food to charities that support communities in need. They rely on the time and skills of volunteers, offering complete flexibility to contribute as much time as they are able. Supporting such organisations is an excellent opportunity for businesses and their employees to contribute to an important cause, as well as cultivate a strong sense of culture within the organisation.

Final Thoughts

It’s undeniable: businesses have the power to build strong local communities, and I believe that we must embed a culture of giving back from the very start. The benefits to both your local community and your business will be enduring and manifold.