owner of a small business store.

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Small businesses are the heartbeat of many cities across the U.S. They provide jobs, attract visitors and support the local economy. But many also give back to make the community a better place.

Here’s how small businesses are giving back to communities this year:

1. Incorporating Volunteering into the Company’s Mission

One growing trend among small businesses is incorporating volunteering into the company’s mission. In doing so, employees and small business owners give back to the community as a team.

From volunteering at soup kitchens to helping Habitat for Humanity or organizing a food drive, volunteering supports the local community in many ways.

Giving back in this way, volunteering your time, also makes the job more rewarding and creates a community atmosphere in the workplace.

2. Sponsoring Local Sports Teams and Organizations

Many small businesses are finding that sponsorships benefit everyone. The organization receives much-needed funding, while the business receives much-needed promotion.

Businesses have been sponsoring local sports teams for decades, but new technologies are making them even more effective for businesses. Many schools are investing in digital score tables for their teams, like the ones offered by Sideline Interactive, which allow local businesses to advertise during games.

Local organizations also look to small businesses to cover the costs of major events. Again, businesses gain promotion through the advertising of the event.

3. Promoting the “Local” Movement

More small businesses are promoting the “local” movement, encouraging their patrons to give their business to other local shops and restaurants.

In some communities, businesses also offer discounts to other employees of local small businesses. Joe from Mom’s Shop down the street may get a 10% discount at the Coffee Lounge on Main Street. By offering these special promotions or discounts, local employees are more inclined to give their business to other small businesses in the area.

4. Offering Mentoring and Internships

Small business owners who want to see Main Street thrive are offering mentorships and internships to aspiring or new business owners.

Offering internships to high school and college kids will also help provide hands-on training for the individual and cost-effective labor for the small business.

5. Supporting Charities

Businesses donating to local charities isn’t a new concept, but many small businesses are taking a new approach to supporting these organizations.

Some still write checks, but others are challenging employees to donate their time – and then reward them for doing so.

For example, you might challenge employees to volunteer five hours of their time in a 30-day period. This can be any activity the employee prefers, from walking dogs at a local animal shelter to reading to hospitalized children.

At the end of the 30-day period, you would calculate the cost of the employees’ volunteer work based on their hourly wages. You would then match or double that amount in the form of a donation to the organization of their choosing.

Giving back to the community benefits small businesses in many ways. It helps build a positive reputation in the community, promotes the business and creates a rewarding experience.