What Businesses Are Doing on Giving Tuesday

These seven companies have created methods of giving back that also boost business.

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By Rose Leadem

Virgin America

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

From Black Friday to Small Business Saturday to Cyber Monday, three post-Thanksgiving shopping holidays are plenty. But forget your consumerist worries for a minute -- Nov. 29 is "Giving Tuesday."

Related: 4 Ways Your Company Benefits From Giving Back

Whether on Giving Tuesday or any other day of the year, giving is a great idea for businesses big and small. From company branding to connection building, there are many ways in which businesses can benefit from giving back.

Check out how these seven businesses are paying it forward.

1. Donate skills.

Marketers often struggle to give others a sense of the value a business has to offer. LinkedIn has found a way to combat this and position itself as an industry expert -- meanwhile giving back to the world.

LinkedIn encourages its members to make a difference in their communities by donating their time and talent. Its free-of-charge Volunteer Marketplace helps members find a nonprofit board or volunteer opportunity that fits their interests and expertise.

2. Leverage your strengths.

Squarespace is using its skills as a leading website platform to create microsites that promote Queens, N.Y.-based coding bootcamp C4Q. By showcasing what it does best -- web design -- while promoting diversity in tech, Squarespace is leveraging its skills to promote its own services as well as showcase the talent of others.

Every Tuesday in December, the company plans to highlight microsites of C4Q alumni on the Squarespace website, sharing their inspiring stories and enhancing their professional profiles. Aside from branding, promotion and giving back, this tactful method might also serve as a pipeline for future hires.

3. Build a movement.

This year, more than 500 organizations joined an initiative to "opt outside" on Black Friday rather than participate in the shopping frenzy. Initially launched by outdoor retailer R.E.I. in 2015, the #OptOutside campaign took flight this year, thanks in part to Black Friday fatigue.

Instead of opting outside, Patagonia kept all of its brick-and-mortar stores open on Black Friday, as well as its website. As a result, the company has promised to donate all of the money it made on Black Friday to grassroots charities.

4. Have fun.

For the seventh consecutive year, Virgin America ran "Operation Chihuahua," an initiative that helps animals and promotes the airline's "Tiny Dogs, Tiny Fares" Cyber Monday sale. In addition to donating $10 to animal shelters in the U.S. for every flight booked that day, the airline also flew dozens of dogs across the country where new adoptive homes awaited them, in partnership with San Francisco Animal Care and Control (SF ACC), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and Animal Haven.

The videos of tiny dogs in big airplane seats are as funny as they are adorable and completely on brand for the cheeky airline.

5. Empower your employees.

Since 2013, pharmacy and retailer CVS has asked employees to nominate their favorite charities to receive a #GivingTuesday grant from the CVS Health Foundation. While CVS already recognizes its employees who volunteer and log their hours, it goes beyond that to encourage them to share their stories and celebrate their efforts. By combining giving back with engagement, the company has showed its support for its employees and donated more than $125,000 to 75 charities across the country.

6. Utilize social media.

Today, social media is the best place to go for free publicity, and crowdfunding platform GoFundMe is taking advantage of the opportunity. GoFundMe created the hashtag #GoBeyondGiving and is challenging people to create crowdfunding campaigns for those in need, community improvement projects or a charity. By publicizing the incentive via social media, the company is promoting its own services and encouraging others to do good at the same time.

7. Partner up.

Whether you're in food, retail or media, partnering up with another company in a different industry can double your impact. Television network QVC has partnered with smaller retailer Peace Love World, selling a specialty T-shirt from which 60 percent of the purchase price benefits global nonprofit Nest. Through the partnership, both businesses gain exposure, tap into each others' consumer bases and are able to give back even more.

Rose Leadem
Rose Leadem is a freelance writer for Entrepreneur.com. 

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