Charity and volunteering: hints and tips on giving back to the community

There are several misconceptions about what it means to be a sustainable business. It’s crucial that employers and employees alike understand that sustainability doesn’t purely involve reducing your carbon emissions and introducing electric car fleets. A sustainable business extends far beyond that - into people, relationships and the community around you.

Set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly are the Sustainable Development Goals. Giving back to your local community falls under the idea of Goal 11, ‘sustainable cities and communities’, of this set of 17 actionable targets set for completion by 2030.

As a business aiming for sustainability throughout everything that you do, taking note of these Sustainable Development Goals and taking measurable and positive steps towards achieving them can lead you, your business and team on a rewarding journey.

So how can you, as a business, give back to your community? 

Ask what is needed

Think of a cause you feel passionate about and is relatable to your business. Find a member or multiple members of the community who you can partner with to find out what’s actually needed in terms of help.

There are numerous ways to give back to your community, from financial donations to volunteering your time or setting up workshops to share knowledge.

Doing your research and figuring out exactly what is needed most will allow you to direct your efforts most efficiently.

Consider how you can donate

Donating to your local community can be done in different ways. You might want to consider some of the following options:

Financial donations

You could choose to sponsor a local fundraiser or hold one of your own and donate the proceeds.

As well as raising money to help a cause that your business connects with, you can also have a visual presence at the event to raise awareness of your involvement.

Donation of goods

This could include old laptops or printers that are no longer of use in your office environment.

As well as technology items that you don’t use, you may want to pass on good quality chairs or desks to community projects.

Donating your time

Many charities may need you or your employees to help with jobs or tasks that require you to donate your time to them. Volunteering can be a fantastic way to give back to the community.

Donating your skills

Whether it’s getting involved in mentoring or simply sharing skills such as accounting or marketing with a community project, this type of donation can be invaluable.

Skills such as coding or web design can be particularly useful to charities and communities.

Encourage volunteering

Volunteering is one of the best ways you can give back to your community. Find a cause that aligns with your company culture or specific interests and offer to volunteer.

Make volunteering part of your company culture by offering volunteering days to your workforce. This will help to incentivise staff to find volunteer opportunities that they enjoy and want to commit to.

Allow for paid volunteering time to encourage employees to view the importance of integrating with the local community. It’s often a great way to lift staff morale and can be an excellent team-building activity.

Highlight your business’s focus on giving back to the community when you hire new people. Talk about the work that you do to give back, and hire people who want to help.

Help your community go green

Remember that by going green within your company and working on goals such as reducing carbon emissions you’ll be improving pollution levels in your local area.

However, as your awareness around sustainability grows you’re likely to notice further elements of your local community where environmental change is needed.

Combining environmental with social sustainability is an excellent way to ensure your community benefits at every level.

Support local recycling schemes by donating money for additional bins or sorting stations. You could contact your local council to find out which facilities need investment and where your business may be able to help community efforts to go green.

There may be a specific project within your community that you can help with such as creating a community garden or setting up a safe and secure bicycle parking area.

Most local communities will have litter picking schemes and events focussed on improving the local area. Try to pull together a calendar of these events and aim to attend as many as possible.

Use your social media 

If you have a wide audience on social media such as a large Instagram or Twitter following, try to help publicise community events that you are involved with.

Encourage your customers and clients to join you if they live in the area. This can help to organically grow new relationships and even generate more business.

When you host a skills workshop or attend a litter picking event, make sure you photograph it and share it on social media to highlight your commitment to sustainability.

By showing the ways in which your business is choosing to give back to your community you can help to encourage competitors and other businesses to increase their efforts.

Offer your own products or services

Depending on the nature of your business you may want to consider offering your business’s products or services to disadvantaged or vulnerable members of your community.

You could also offer to help support smaller businesses or individuals who could benefit from your products, services or expertise. Accelerator programs and mentorship can be excellent ways to help give those just starting up the opportunity to grow.


It’s important to remember that sustainability includes social as well as environmental responsibilities and giving back to your community has multiple benefits for everyone involved.

Your business will be able to confidently offer examples of ways in which you are helping to build a better and brighter future both within and beyond your workplace.