Why small businesses should consider corporate responsibility programs

Kate Jones

Small businesses may not be as high powered as big business, but they can be just as responsible to their communities.

Tara-Jay Rimmer, owner of removals and delivery company The Van That Can, has partnered with various charities including Anglicare to donate household items that would have otherwise been thrown away. The goods are used to rehouse people in need as well as to reduce landfill.

Rimmer says giving back to the community creates a feel-good atmosphere for staff and a shining reputation for her brand.

“Caring about the community is important as it promotes a positive culture within the team. And as a small business, positivity will get you everywhere,” she says.

“The advantages are that as a small business, it has helped us establish ourselves and grow within community.

“I swear word of mouth spreads faster than fire, and helping other people is a good thing to spread around.”

You'll be surprised how many other business leaders share your passion for the community, too.

Participating in workplace charity events may be on the wishlist for many small businesses, but not on the reality list. Tom Quinn, founder of Future Business Council, says collaboration is key.

"Connect with other business leaders to develop a joint approach for giving back and create a shared platform that more effective and larger than any single small business can achieve,” he says.

“You'll be surprised how many other business leaders share your passion for the community, too.”

Investment startup SelfWealth chief executive Andrew Ward says his company is in the early stages of a program that supports financial literacy.

“One of the first charities we will support will be around financial literacy for children and we are finalising our push to have financial literacy, including investing, as a topic for a term in secondary school,” he says.

Trying to make money goes hand-in-hand with making a difference, says Alicia Darvall, executive director at B Lab Australia and New Zealand, which gives B Corporation certificates to businesses upholding high environmental and social-responsibility standards.

“Becoming a B Corp. opens people up to a whole network of not only like-minded people, but also people who had achieved so much and that can inspire them to do more by increasing their impact and social purpose,” she says.

Businesses creating value for the community will be the focus of Purpose 2015 on 7 and 8 December. This new event will showcase companies putting purpose at the core of their business models. 

Kate Jones

Kate Jones writes for the business and money sections of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. She also writes for The New Daily, TAC, RMIT and is a news writing tutor at Monash University.

Image: Orin Zebest, Flickr Creative Commons license