Giving Back — It’s not just money

2021 is coming to an end. Money is tight and business hasn’t bounced back, but in the spirit of Christmas, you want to pay it forward – no pun intended. When money isn’t an option, we often overlook how our time and expertise can be invaluable to those in need. New to the concept of ‘time, money and expertise’? Read on below for easy ways to incorporate these contributions into your business.


If a financial donation isn’t an option this year, lending time can leave a major impression on a local charity. There are thousands of amazing organizations in need of manpower, whether it’s to pack boxes, drive hot meals to the homeless or sort donation items. Choose an organization that aligns with your personal or company values and fits within your time constraints. Consider involving your employees so it’s a team effort. To get proper recognition and make it a branded moment, wear your company uniform or a logoed T-shirt. Take photos to share your involvement on your website, in your next email blast, or with local news outlets like Snap’d.


Every year Deloitte gives its employees a day off to lend their expertise to agencies in need. Dubbed ‘Impact Day‘, employees provide free consulting or accounting services and work on projects where their skills can deliver ‘an impact’. Similarly, we can use our skills and contribute our resources and expertise. Since the beginning of Covid-19, Gibson’s has supported a local initiative called Sew4TO, a local sewing group who made toques for Toronto’s most vulnerable populations. Gibson’s was able to leverage its expertise and became a central hub for the sewers to pick up sewing kits and their instructions. We were also able to lean on former suppliers who donated fleece and other materials – all for free! Is your plant able to clean coats for an upcoming clothing drive? Blankets or sleeping bags for a homeless shelter? Tap into your areas of expertise to determine how you can offer value this holiday season.


It’s always been difficult for small businesses to make major financial contributions. While giving back financially is not the focus of this article, you can get creative in the ways you donate. Instead of giving a large sum of money, ask your customers if they’d like to ‘round up their bill’ for a cause of your organization’s choice. When sharing any amount raised, use language like ‘donated over $500’, or ‘close to $1,000’, rather than using the exact amount. Why make your donation sound good when it can sound fantastic? If all of this seems a bit too complicated, make December a month dedicated to gratitude and give front line and health care workers a discount on your services. Promote this offer on your marketing channels and with your neighbourhood businesses. Who knows, maybe they’ll extend the offer too.

Time, money or expertise – one isn’t more important than the other. Maybe this year you can donate your expertise, maybe next year, your time – whichever it is, share your contributions with your community! It will make them happy to know they are supporting a business that cares about those in need.

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