How Businesses Can Incorporate Philanthropy on a Budget

Philanthropy is something that can be difficult for relatively new businesses to incorporate into their models. Often, business owners wait until they’ve reached a certain financial threshold before even thinking about donating or raising money for charitable causes. However, there are plenty of simple ways in which all businesses can incorporate philanthropic practices into their day-to-day processes.

Start Small

One of the most effective ways businesses can incorporate philanthropy into their daily operations is to do so on a small scale. Business owners and managers usually have little trouble coming up with smaller initiatives to raise money. For example, businesses could easily organize parties, games, or events where proceeds and donations can go towards helping needy children or homeless shelters. Companies might also try organizing a designated donation day where customers are asked to donate small amounts of money for various causes before leaving the store. This process helps businesses raise money for people who need it and reinforces the positive customer service experience that most customers expect from modern businesses.

A Worthy Mission

Another way in which businesses can incorporate philanthropy into their operations is by taking up a mission-based approach. One of the reasons why many business owners are initially reluctant to donate is because they don’t have a worthy purpose in mind to devote themselves to. Businesses could focus their attention on improving literacy rates in local schools or promoting their own sustainability goals to customers. In other words, entrepreneurs need to find causes they are genuinely interested in helping out with before committing to philanthropic activities that don’t they don’t actually care about.

Partnering with Charities

One of the best ways businesses can incorporate philanthropy on a budget is by partnering with local charities. A partnership can take on various forms, including simple sponsorship deals to more comprehensive, long-term arrangements that give both organizations room to grow and develop together. When businesses partner with charities, they help both organizations grow and improve at a faster rate.

Start Today

As businesses get older and more established, they tend to gradually build up the capital reserves that can be used to fund philanthropic causes. However, this doesn’t mean that new businesses or companies with a small budget aren’t able to incorporate philanthropy into their operations. By working hard from day one and focusing on important movements or causes in their local communities, all business owners can feel the joys of helping those in need while also bettering their own reputations as excellent employers.

Benefits of Service Dogs

Service dogs play a critical – yet oft-overlooked – role in the daily lives of many people. Service dogs can change the quality of life for many of those with disabilities and those with chronic conditions.

It’s essential to know how service dogs can help improve life, if for no other reason than to appreciate and respect these animals and their important work truly. Listed below are some of the benefits of service dogs – though it is by no means a complete list.

Aiding Mobility

Service dogs are trained to provide physical aid to their owners. For example, they can reach wheelchair users’ items and provide basic tasks for those that can’t, fetch objects, press buttons, etc. 

Medical Alerts

Some service dogs have been trained to be on alert for people experiencing a medical crisis. Specific episodes can be alerted in advance, allowing the person to either get to a safe place or request help. Otherwise, service dogs can provide a safe space, get help, or stand watch as needed.

Fall Prevention

Service dogs provide a critical service for those that deal with fatigue, physical challenges, pain conditions, or just have trouble walking. These dogs are specially trained to help a person who is struggling with their balance. They can brace a person about to fall or help soften their landings. Furthermore, they can provide help by fetching items (reducing the risk of getting up needlessly). 

Independence

Thanks to service dogs, many people have gained a level of independence that they would otherwise not have been able to reach. They no longer have to rely on those around them and can always trust their service animal to provide whatever aid is needed.

Companionship

Having a service dog comes with the added benefit of always having a companion around. Yes, that companion is working, but they are incredibly loyal and willing to help out however possible.

As such, service dogs can help reduce certain adverse emotional states, such as anxiety, depression, and loneliness. All while boosting positive ones, including self-confidence and happiness.

It’s important here to note the significant differences between a service dog and a therapy animal. While both have their benefits, ultimately, they do provide vastly different tasks. Be sure to properly research both before deciding which one is right for you.

Food: an Escape from Disability

foodFor many young people living with Cerebral Palsy, a distant goal is independence. As we all know, CP varies in severity and expression depending on the severity of the brain damage that the individual sustained. For some, their minds are perfectly in tact but their nervous systems and muscles suffer from abnormalities of form and function. For others, though, the condition can leave them nearly incapable of ever living life independently.

One common path to independence, though? Food. For many who live with CP, the food industry provides a welcome road to a more independent lifestyle, complete with repetitive tasks, support from business owners, interactions with customers, and wages. Some large-scale operations like Whole Foods and Giant have already made commitments to hiring more individuals with disabilities and providing them with the attention and training they need to be successful. In Pennsylvania, Leg Up Farmers Market trains and employs adults with disabilities and walks them through the entire process, from farming the food to marketing and selling it to customers.

On a smaller scale, though, small businesses have a greater ability to provide those with disabilities a personalized working experience that is mutually beneficial. Whereas larger stores and restaurants entertain more customers and thus may not have time to nurture an employee with special needs, small stores, local cafes, and other good-hearted small business owners can employ individuals who may need some extra time and attention.

Take, for example, Victoria Reedy of Schenectady, N.Y. NPR recently ran a story about a young woman who lives with Panhypopituitarism, a disease that drastically limits growth hormone production and can also cause some other physical, mental, and cognitive inhibitions. Reedy struggled in school with both the content and the motor skills required to perform, but as a 26-year-old woman, she’s found new life working in Puzzles Bakery & Cafe, where she participates in the food service work and enjoys some tasks like washing dishes and

In another example, one young man with CP turned his dietary restrictions into a platform for his passion as a food critic. Alex Jenkins of Charlotte, North Carolina, lives with Cerebral Palsy, and as a result, has some pretty intense dietary restrictions. In addition, Alex experiences some limited mobility and reduced fine motor skills, so he often asks his waiters to cut his food for him. Writing under the pseudonym The Dude, Alex pens reviews of the restaurants that includes discussions of their accessibility to individuals with handicaps and their ability to accommodate him. With his mother and his caregiver, Alex regularly visits restaurants, and afterwards, he and his mother draft and post reviews on his blog, Food with the Dude. In this way, Alex has harnessed his disability into a positive, informative outlet.
For many with disabilities, food is an open door to freedom and mobility. It’s a common ground, a learning space, and a way for these individuals to earn a small income.