The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on everyone, especially small business owners. According to a survey conducted by the US Chamber of Commerce, nearly 61% of small business owners say they won’t be able to survive more than six months if the current conditions persist.
Luckily, non-profit organizations can help ease the burden on local businesses in a few ways. Here are some examples.
Offer marketing and advertising assistance.
Many non-profits have marketing staff on hand who can help local businesses with their branding and advertising efforts. This can be anything from developing a social media strategy to designing print collateral. For example, the American Red Cross provides marketing assistance to blood donation centers across the country.
If you’re considering offering this type of assistance, make sure to consider the following:
- The size of the business: A large corporation will likely have a marketing team in place, so they may not need your help. On the other hand, a small mom-and-pop shop probably doesn’t have the budget for full-time marketing staff, so they would be more likely to take you up on your offer.
- The type of assistance the business needs: As mentioned above, you can offer many types of marketing assistance. Make sure you have the staff and resources to provide the specific help the business needs.
- The business’s goals: What does the firm hope to achieve with your help? Make sure your assistance aligns with their goals.
This is helpful because small business owners often don’t have the time or resources to invest in marketing. Yet, getting the word out about their products or services is more important than ever. If your non-profit doesn’t have anyone on staff with marketing experience, see if any volunteers would be willing to lend a hand.
Provide financial assistance.
Some non-profits have funds available that can be used to help businesses with things like rent, utilities, or payroll. Others may offer microloans or other financing options. But one area that doesn’t seem to get enough attention is the looming issue of bankruptcy.
Non-profits can step in by hiring bankruptcy lawyers who can help business owners navigate the whole process, which can be complicated and confusing. Without this assistance, many business owners could end up losing everything they’ve worked so hard to build. In addition, lawyers can hold bankruptcy counseling programs that will help business owners understand their options and make the best decision for their situation.
To begin this venture, you’ll need to find bankruptcy lawyers willing to work with your non-profit. Here’s how to choose the suitable one:
- Check if the lawyer is experienced. Dealing with bankruptcy cases can be tricky, so you’ll want to ensure the lawyers you hire have experience in this area.
- Look for a firm that offers free consultations. This will allow business owners to get an idea of their options without committing to anything.
- Find out if the firm offers payment plans. Many businesses are struggling right now and may not be able to afford lawyer’s fees all at once. Payment plans make it more affordable for them to get the help they need.
You may also need to raise funds to cover the cost of their services. But if you can provide this type of assistance, it could make a huge difference for struggling businesses in your community.
Offer discounts on goods and services.
If your non-profit purchases goods or services from local businesses, see if you can get a discount for being a loyal customer. This will help the businesses’ cash flow and perhaps even allow them to pass the savings to their customers.
For starters, see if you can negotiate a better rate on the things you usually buy. But don’t stop there. If your non-profit is holding an event, see if any local businesses would be interested in donating goods or services in exchange for promotion. This is a win-win because the company gets free advertising, and your non-profit saves money.
Help connect business owners with resources.
Many business owners are struggling right now and could use some assistance in areas like human resources, legal advice, or IT support. If you have connections with any professionals who could offer pro bono services, put them in touch with local business owners who could benefit from their expertise.
For example, small businesses can often get free or discounted software from Microsoft through a program called Microsoft Imagine. But many business owners don’t even know about it. By connecting them with the right resources, you could help them save a lot of money.
Meanwhile, you can find a local IT company that would be willing to offer its services at a reduced rate. As the need for digital growth becomes even more rampant, this is an area where non-profits can really make a difference.
There are many ways that non-profit organizations can help local business owners during these difficult times. From offering marketing and advertising assistance to providing financial aid, there are plenty of ways to make a difference. Working together can help keep our communities strong and thriving for years to come!