The holiday season is upon us and for many, it’s a time to pause and appreciate the things that matter most in life. But it’s also a time to give back, and if you or your business feels especially fortunate this year, it can be incredibly fulfilling to do something for others.

Think Small… and Make a Big Difference

Large companies donate millions to charities all over the world each year, so it might be difficult to think that your small business could truly make a difference.  Instead of trying to think big, put your focus on how you can change the world in your own backyard. Anyone can write a check and simply let the charity put it to use as they see fit. But ask any charitable organization and they will tell you that giving of your time is equally valuable. Think about how you and your employees could donate your time.

Big or small, there are many ways to get involved and a wealth of people/organizations that could use a helping hand – during the holiday or any time of year:

Habitat for Humanity 

You and your employees can spend a day or two volunteering to build simple, decent, affordable houses. No construction experience or building skills are needed and volunteers are involved in most phases of construction.

Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen or Homeless Shelter

Budgets may be tight, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help serve a hot meal. Make it part of a team-building day where you and your employees can volunteer together and make a difference for those less fortunate.

Adopt a Family

Many families are in crisis this holiday season, so you and your employees can help make Christmas special by providing much-needed gifts to put under their tree.

Holiday “Ring the Bell” Shifts

The Salvation Army always has volunteer opportunities for bell ringers during their Red Kettle Campaign. It’s a great way to get employees and their families involved in their community.

Food/Toy/Coat Drive

Drives are great for smaller businesses and make a great impact on the community at-large. Encourage employees to make a donation and spread the word to their friends and family.

Care Packages for the Troops

Many soldiers are missing their families during the holiday and care packages/holiday cards are a great way to remind them they they’re not alone. You can also check into locals programs to adopt a military family and provide food or gifts during the holiday season.

As you begin planning for the remainder of the year, and for the future, consider how you can give thanks by giving back, and doing it in a way where everyone wins … you, your business, your employees and your charity.