You really have to crack a smile whenever you see acts of humanity go viral. After all, in a sea of death, disease and Donald J.Trump, it’s always refreshing to see someone get media attention for the right reasons.
Acts of kindness can sometimes send a small business soaring into the global consciousness via social media, boosting their custom – or at the very least their search engine rankings. Although we’d hasten to suggest this is the foremost reason to make your small business more charitable, it’s surely a positive thing if companies are seeing increased attention thanks to generous behaviour. Everybody wins!
If you have aspirations of being a force for good but are afraid that your altruistic efforts may have a negative effect on your revenue, take a few moments to get inspired by these companies whose goodwill has set the media alight.
Free food and drink for homeless
PB Jams is a Oregon café specialising in peanut butter based snacks (they had us at ‘peanut butter’). When owner Ashley Jiron noticed someone had been taking food from the bins outside, she left a note for him in the window.
The note went viral after it was posted on Instagram, ending up as a feel-good story on news websites across the globe.
“I think we’ve all been in that position where we needed someone’s help and we just needed someone to extend that hand,” Jiron told Local news site KFOR. “If I can be that one person to extend that hand to another human being then I will definitely do it.”
Free drycleaning for jobseekers
59% of executives (who would admit to it) are apparently turned off by stains on job applicants clothing, but affording a professional dry clean when you’re out of work can be tricky. With this in mind, Plaza Cleaners in Portland, Oregon put up a sign in March 2010, which said “If you are unemployed and need an outfit clean for an interview, we will clean it for FREE.”
“It doesn’t matter what they bring in” manager Kathey Butters told Huffington Post. “If they could feel good in that clean, freshly pressed skirt or suit, they might sit taller or present themselves better. That little push might help.”
Despite the coverage, it wasn’t Plaza who first had the idea. Company owner Steve Young implemented the offer after being inspired by a New York dry cleaner promoting something similar. Nonetheless, this was so well-received that it was soon adopted to massive fanfare by the Timpsons chain here in the UK.
What better way to let potential customers know that they provide a dry cleaning service than by being talked up in most major news publications? Neither Plaza or Timpsons ask people to prove they are unemployed to get the free drycleaning.
“We just trust customers,” said James Timpson. “We had one lady who came in with a cocktail dress and we told her to hold on. But that’s the only instance of a customer taking advantage.”
The California-based moving company has provided free service to domestic violence victims since 2001, helping them start new lives without the burden of being able to afford the assistance they need.
A partnership with domestic violence-prevention nonprofit Good Shepherd Shelter threw the company back into the public eye last year. Steed has recently appeared across local and national media and has been given TV time to promote the company’s campaign #MoveToEndDV – encouraging other businesses to do what they can to help.
Seven California-based domestic violence-preventions organizations now have a partnership with the moving company. Whilst it creates a lot more work, the exposure and gratitude towards the company is immeasurable, and Meathead Movers have maneuvered themselves to the top of their trade.
Clothing company refuses returned winter coat
Just last month, Kelly Blue Kinkel received a coat she’d ordered online but had an unusual reservation with the item; the coat was made of material that dog hair clings to.
Kinkel hadn’t opened the parcel but could see through the packaging that it wasn’t going to be suitable, as she has two dogs with particularly coarse hair. She called retailer Zulily’s customer service to ask about getting a refund, but was flabbergasted at the response. Posting on Facebook, Kinkel explained:
“I spoke with a sweet young man named Patrick, and he let me know he would refund my money immediately….Please don’t send it back. If you know someone who needs a winter coat or if you would like to donate it to a charity, that would make us very happy.
“It took me a moment to realize he was completely serious, and then came the tears. The world needs more love like that.”
The good deed did not go unnoticed, and after appearing on Daily Mail, Fox News and Entrepreneur.com to name a few, the post has thus far reached almost 130,000 likes and over 53,000 shares.
Dogs sleep in warm cafe at night
Last year it was reported that there are over one million stray dogs in Greece following the debt crisis. Lesbos café Hott Spott has received global compliments from dog lovers for opening its doors at night-time to stop them from having to sleep ruff.
The cafe stops letting customers in at 3 each morning, but leaves its doors to pooches to sleep in the warmth.
“In the city there are many dogs. When the bar closes each night, the dogs come and sleep here. We don’t have a problem. From July, every night there is a dog on the couch.”
There’s been plenty of (p)upside for the company since word got out about Hott Spott’s philanthropy, giving them worldwide exposure on websites like Buzzfeed and Huffington Post.
These folks add a lot of weight to that quote attributed to Anne Frank; “No one has ever become poor by giving”. With this in mind, have a think about what your business can do to help others. You’ll feel great, and that’s not just because you could become a viral sensation; that’s just an added bonus.
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