WordPress subtly reminded me upon my log-in today that the holiday season is upon us with it’s delightful snow plug-in. Anything I don’t have to shovel gets a big thumbs up from me.
One of the reasons I love this time of year so much is the spirit of giving that everyone seems to share over the course of the next 30 days. As a small business owner, you may want to consider donating a percentage of profits from your products and services to charity this season. From a marketing perspective, advertising this move may entice your customers to buy from you over your competitors.
Here are some charitable causes for you and your business to keep your eye out for as we approach year-end:
1. Toys for Tots: Sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps, this charity collects unwrapped toys for local children in need. It’s early December, and I’ve already had two opportunities to give through my local alumni association, and a 5k race in my neighborhood where the entry “fee” was an unwrapped toy. Your business can also sign up to be a designated T4T drop spot.
2. Salvation Army: The red kettle and bell-ringing are classic Christmas icons, but there are other ways to provide assistance to the Salvation Army. You can gift airline miles, donate a car, or contribute household goods such as office furniture.
3. Sponsor a Scholarship: Work with your local university to fund a scholarship for deserving students in your industry. Tuition prices continue to climb every year, so even a small scholarship that can help pay for books will be appreciated. As an added bonus, you’ll potentially be investing in your company’s future to ensure you have the best and brightest talent, and maybe help out your company’s website from an SEO perspective if you can get a .edu site to link back to yours with information about your scholarship.
Keep in mind that charitable contributions generally pass through to your personal tax return. For those of you that want to take a personal deduction, you can find the rules at the IRS website. There is a way that you can supercharge the amount of your deduction. The gift of cash represents what you get to keep after you have paid income taxes. Instead, consider gifting appreciated stock that you have held for more than one year. The charity wins when it sells the stock for current market price, you win because you get a tax deduction on the full market value price, and YOU DO NOT have to pay tax on the gain. For example, if a stock you purchased last year for $100 is now selling at $150, your tax deduction is $150 and no tax on the $50 gain is paid.