Social Responsibility for Small Businesses

Good social responsibility is integral to your small business brand


Social responsibility isn’t just important for a large business. Small business owners can have a deep and lasting impact on their communities by keeping these guidelines in mind:


1.   Think local. Understand the nonprofits in your area.

Find a mission that speaks to you as a business owner. Incorporate your employees in community service work with those nonprofits. I encourage business owners to engage deeply with one or a few nonprofits. Consider engaging your employees to help choose what causes you want to support.

2.   Consider the benefits to employee morale.

It builds camaraderie to work together on projects to benefit others. Small businesses can make monetary donations, provide staffing for small upkeep projects, donate food for a workshop or class at a nonprofit or organize a donation drive to benefit a nonprofit (for example, canned food, winter coats, school supplies).

3.   Break out of your silo.

Investing in the fabric of your community benefits your business and is the core of social responsibility for business owners. Taking interest in community issues doesn’t need to involve financial support.

Lend your advice on issues. Speak up about issues you care about (be they environmental, housing, tax related, etc). Being a committed community member will raise your business’s local profile.

4.   Pursue genuine involvement.

Consider lending your knowledge (or encouraging an employee to do so) as a board member of a local nonprofit.  The relationships and increased profile will help your business and your contributions will help your community.

5.   Know your local demographics.

As entrepreneurs it’s understandable that we focus much of our time on our own business. It’s healthy and prudent to be aware of the larger world and to demonstrate that worldview to employees. Seeing the big picture helps you focus your vision and express your business and life philosophy to employees and customers.

Related articles:

What Does Corporate Social Responsibility Mean for Business?

Responsibility and The Business of Change

Your Employees Can Help Move the Needle

Carola Bracco
Carola Otero Bracco is the Executive Director of Neighbors Link Northern Westchester and CEO of Neighbors Link Network.  A first generation American born of immigrant parents from Bolivia, Carola earned a Masters in Business Administration from Duke University.  Before assuming her post with Neighbors Link in April of 2004, she had 12 years experience in financial management with General Electric Corporation, Ford Motor Company and Time Warner, Inc.  Carola has a passion for motivating constituent families and advocating for personal growth through education and economic development. Website