I’ve spent the past 17 years living in the Volunteer State. Shortly after arriving in Nashville, I saw tornadoes demolish outlying towns. Then, I experienced the hundred-year flood. Right before the COVID-19 pandemic, tornadoes ripped through the city. Finally, adding insult to injury, the pandemic is pushing businesses to the point of teetering on the edge of extinction. Despite the different catastrophes, one thing remains the same: Tennesseans know how to unite to help one another in hard times.
Although many of us are feeling like our hands are tied during the pandemic because we don’t know what to do, we don’t need to stay at a standstill. There will always be ways to support one another, but we might need to get a little creative at times. As far as ways your company can step up to the plate, here is how businesses can help during the pandemic.
The Fantastic 4: How Businesses Can Help During the Pandemic
While there are countless specific ways businesses can help during the pandemic, there are four overarching themes. You can either volunteer your time, donate goods or services, give money, or raise awareness. These may seem obvious, yet it’s easy to get overwhelmed by feelings of helplessness. So, hopefully outlining these options will be helpful in guiding you to what’s doable for your business.
Help by Volunteering Time
One thing we seem to have a lot of these days is time. For the first time as long as many of us can remember, the rat race no longer feels like a race. In fact, the pace is so slow and the places we can go are so limited that many of us actually feel a bit bored. So, instead of succumbing to the boredom and re-binging Arrested Development on Netflix, consider using your time to help.
On the flip side, if you are a business owner, you are probably not spending your time binging Arrested Development. Conversely, you are likely spending your time brainstorming ways to keep your business afloat. You might even be losing sleep at night, with a million thoughts running through your head. So, instead of flailing aimlessly, try focusing your energy on ways you can help during the pandemic.
Consider This: If your business typically offers local deliveries, give time by waiving the delivery fee. Additionally, you could be strategic with deliveries by partnering in a co-op with other businesses in need to do some of the deliveries for them. Either way, you would be helping individuals and/or other businesses, and reducing the spread of the virus.
Help by Donating Goods or Services
If you are in business, you likely have goods or services people want (if you don’t, then that’s a different blog entirely!). While many people are suffering right now, undoubtedly some are suffering more than others. So, now is a good time to take inventory of what you have, and what you have to give.
Consider This: If your business has goods or services that are in high demand, perhaps you could donate a portion of them. For example, if you operate a restaurant, donate meals each day to homebound/high-risk families, or to essential workers on the frontline. Most people are grateful for any random act of kindness that comes their way.
Help by Giving Money
When people don’t know what to do, but want to do something quickly, an easy option is to throw money at the problem. Since businesses typically have a little more disposable income than the average person, they can help in bigger ways. Now, this one can be a little tricky, because scammers are ready to take advantage of individuals and businesses alike. Still, there are plenty of reputable organizations that can tell you how businesses can help during the pandemic, and who are grateful for your monetary donations.
Consider This: Donating a portion of your proceeds to non-profit organizations is a great way to help people in need, and simultaneously show your company’s support of a cause. Donations to Feeding America or mental health support therapy sessions are two different ways to help people who are struggling during the pandemic.
Help by Raising Awareness
If you are reading this post, you are on either a computer, tablet, or phone. In other words, you have some kind of device and access to the internet. Well, where there’s internet, there’s social medial. While social media can be a great tool, it has also been overwhelmed with negative rhetoric lately. Instead of getting into a heated debate about the efficacy of homemade hand sanitizer, try using your platform to raise awareness about a worthy cause.
Consider This: You can use social media, word of mouth, and marketing materials to raise awareness about little-known struggles during the pandemic. For example, many families are struggling to find affordable childcare as they return to the jobsite, but their children are home for virtual schooling. If you know about teaching pods or childcare organizations offering discounts, pass that information along. It’s possible your information could be what changes the trajectory of someone’s life.
In case you haven’t already realized, you don’t have to pick and choose how businesses can help during the pandemic. The beauty of helping is that you can do one, a combination of any two or three, or all four! There isn’t a right or wrong way to help. Truly, the most important things about helping are that you take action and it comes from the heart.
Help with Hands Untied
Without a doubt, the novelty of the coronavirus pandemic has left our world reeling. The human population is experiencing the impact in countless ways, and we often feel helpless. Nevertheless, being creative and strategic about helping in a meaningful way will counteract the negative. The best part is you don’t have to live in the Volunteer State to find ways to do good. Knowing how businesses can help during the pandemic will make us feel more empowered to do something. So, remember four key ways to help: volunteer time, donate goods or services, give money, and raise awareness for people and organizations in need. Employing these ways will help businesses realize their hands are untied, and they have the ability to change the world.