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Philanthropy for Small Businesses

How to give without going under

Don’t come out of left field. Create a meaningful connection between your giving and your business. For example, our business is restaurants, so it makes sense for us to begin our annual giving cycle with a calendar quarter devoted to hunger relief.

Be realistic. Reserve enough cash to keep the business healthy. And spread your giving out over the year. It will both smooth your cash flow and keep your stakeholders engaged.

Avoid toxic causes. It’s easier for community businesses to thrive when they don’t have people picketing their storefronts.

Put your cards on the table. Disclose any financial information needed to prove that you are honoring your commitments. Inform your beneficiary nonprofits of the support they can expect from you, and then make sure you deliver.

Change it up now and then. No single nonprofit will engage the entire community or even all your customers.

Keep your voice down. A large percentage of your customers won’t care about your philanthropy. Focus on your products and services and let your customers, employees, and beneficiary nonprofits promote your giving organically.

Don’t shift the burden. Make sure it’s you who does the giving. Employees must earn market wages. Suppliers must be paid on time and at market rates. Customers must not be charged above-market prices or receive goods or services of below-market quality. And give a percentage of your sales, not your profits. That way your giving is guaranteed and sustainable.

Raise Your LinkedIn Profile

Standing out on the professional network site

Write a dynamic tagline. Make the text under your name intriguing and clear. Let people know what’s special about you.

Hone your pitch. Refine your trusty elevator speech and put it in the “summary” section.

Go beyond your résumé. Describe how your rich background feeds into your aspirations. Excerpt one of your publications. Take advantage of free LinkedIn applications to provide easy downloads of your multimedia marketing materials.

Include a good photo. A clear picture of what you look like reinforces your brand and makes you easy to spot in a coffee shop.

Get personal. Obtain a personalized LinkedIn URL and use it on business cards, email signatures, and marketing materials. See bit.ly/linkedin_url.

Recommend and be recommended. You should have three recommendations. Figure that 2 percent of those in your network so greatly admire you as to recommend you. Your job is to seek out that 2 percent.

Make your profile 100 percent complete. In addition to the profile summary, photo, and recommendations, it should include your education, specialties, current position, and two past positions.

Don’t drop the ball. LinkedIn is a changing marketplace. That means you must continuously participate.

The Art of Shooting Group Photos

Find a simple, clean background. This is especially important if space is limited and your group is forced to stand close to a wall or fence.

Fit the folks in the frame. For groups larger than five, make more than one row, with the tallest people in the back. Get a few chairs so that some people can comfortably sit, or use stairs to separate rows.

Be certain you can see each face. To make sure nobody is obscured, ask people if they can see you.

Do a posture check. Many people slouch without knowing it. Also, you might pose some group members sitting or standing at a three-quarters angle to the camera, with one foot back from the other—a position that can create a slimmer profile.

Look for relaxed hands. Generally people should keep their arms at their sides and avoid clenching their fists.

Be patient. Remember, the time spent arranging the group can make the picture a snap.

Dining Out with a Toddler

Pick the right restaurant. Look for wait staff who will not mind an errant noodle (or two) on the floor. Determine that there’s a bathroom with a changing table; otherwise, prepare to deal with dirty business on the floor. If you’ll be on foot, confirm that there’s space to store a stroller.

Review the menu. Ensure that it includes something your child will eat. Find out whether you can ask for modifications or substitutions if necessary. Inquire about a children’s menu.

Bring entertainment. Books, small toys, an iPad—whatever keeps your tot on his or her tush. If the restaurant offers crayons, even better. But realize that nothing is likely to work for long. Expect that you and your partner will take turns walking around with your child.

Get a good seat, soon. If there’s a long wait for a table, move on. And give yourself a wide berth from the other diners. Weather permitting, eat outside. The scenery may entertain your child, and falling food is less of an issue.

Order quickly and strategically. If your child is in an impatient mood, time his or her main course to come with your salad course, and dessert to come with your entrée.

  © 2011 Tufts University Tufts Publications, 80 George St., Medford, MA 02155