Small business owners should incorporate charitable giving and community service into their business plans each and every year.  For one thing, it is the right thing to do and makes your community a better place in which to live, work, and play.  Community service is a tremendous opportunity for building greater rapport with your staff, boosting employee morale and loyalty to your company.  Second, it is so easy to do and there are dozens upon dozens of worthwhile organizations and charitable causes to support in any community, large or small, urban or rural.  Finally, not to be crass, but being a socially conscious entrepreneur makes good business sense.  From tax benefits to networking opportunities to elevating your profile in the community—and just feeling good about contributing in some small way to improving the lives of others–there are many direct and indirect benefits to supporting the nonprofit community.  Don’t worry if you don’t have the budget to write a $100,000 check, nonprofits are grateful for any and all amount and type of support they receive.  If you are unsure where to begin, take a look at ConnectVA and the Center for Nonprofit Excellence—two excellent resources for information, trends, and updates from the local nonprofit community.

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