It’s that time of year again! The weather is cooling down (here in NYC anyway), grocery store shelves are being wiped clean in preparation for family feasts, and people are starting to feel a little more giving.
We wanted to take this opportunity to highlight a few online entrepreneurs who have given back with their businesses, and share how you can give back with yours.
Online Entrepreneurs Who Give Back
Melyssa Griffin is an online course creator and entrepreneur who has empowered countless others to find success in their own online businesses. In addition to providing a behind the scenes look into what it takes to be a successful online entrepreneur, Melyssa also partnered with Pencils of Promise to raise $119,227 in support of their efforts to raise literacy worldwide.
Dymond has used the platform she created with her blog to build relationships with different brands, one being the cult-favorite makeup line Glossier.
As an affiliate, she was able to earn product, and instead of keeping it for herself, she donated it to her local Rachel's Ray of Hope community closet so young girls can choose what they need and feel more confident.
Blogger Erika Altes had a personal connection to the Sonoma County Wildfires, and when her community lost over 5700 homes, she rallied. Erika used her influence to round up a group of bloggers to provide support and build awareness.
“Sonoma County holds a very special place in my heart. I was born and raised here, these are my people, this is my city.
To see it in such a crisis I didn't even think twice about using my platform to try and help. My original intent was to try and bring as much awareness to the area as possible so people would feel compelled to help and donate.
However, in addition to doing that I have found that a good amount of my followers are from here and have either lost their home or have been affected by the fires. My platform has allowed me to connect with these people, be there for them, and grieve with them. I have never felt more connected with my audience and community than I do now and I hope they can say the same for me.”
Joel Runyon is the founder of Impossible HQ, and through his online business he started an initiative called 777.
Joel ran 7 ultramarathons in 7 continents in order to build 7 schools through Pencils of Promise.
Joel finished his 7 ultramarathons in his year long project and was able to do what he had once deemed as "Impossible."
Kelsey Baldwin is the founder of Paper & Oats and uses her platform to give back,following along with different monthly themes. She’s used her platform and influence to donate to charities like The Preemptive Love Coalition and Castaway Animal Rescue Efforts.
"Turn on the news any day of the week, and it’s pretty obvious there are people in the world who have bigger problems than I do yet have access to fewer resources.
As a self-employed woman in charge of my own funds, I decided to use my business as a tool to help others reach goals and solve problems much greater than my own. I say this not to boast, but because I know this is a desire of a lot of entrepreneurs doing business today. I’ve seen it discussed among small business owners, both online and in-person — we’re all looking for ways we can help make a difference and give to a cause that’s bigger than ourselves or our business.”
Alicia Chew of Alicia Tenise used the platform she built through her blog to educate her audience on how they could donate during Hurricane Harvey. Taking a break from her usual content to help empower her audience to make a difference.
Many bloggers establish platforms without realizing how influential they really are. Luckily, Alicia realizes the influence she has and uses it to encourage good among the people reading her blog.
She also frequently speaks out about important issues on her social media.
Vanessa is a blogger who has used her influence to raise awareness and money for National Eating Disorder Association and raised $1,700 for their walk. She continues supporting her mission by advocating for positivity and self-appreciation across her online platforms.
“It has sort of been a bucket list item of mine to walk in NEDA's annual fundraising event and going into 2017 I made it a goal to represent every friend, family member and person I've encountered in my life who has visibly or silently struggled with not feeling like enough.
My friend Olivia of Style By Liv (who also spends her days as a nurse at an eating disorder clinic) made her a natural supporter and co-fundraiser in my desire to help raise awareness and funds for this amazing organization who connects those struggling with the support and tools to survive.
Together with our blogs, networks and local organizations, we raised $1,700 for our walk in May through a charity shopping event, a sliding scale self-love stretch class and frequent social media blasts and we continue to advocate for body positivity, mindful living and self-appreciation whenever we can.”
Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income is largely known for helping people kick butt in their online businesses, but he’s also joined forces with Pencils of Promise and has even traveled to Ghana to help build schools.
Pat was inpsired by his two young children to work with a charity benefiting education, espeically for populations who may have never received an education otherwise.
Kate Albrecht—or, as she’s known online, “Mr. Kate”—is a YouTuber who has partnered with huge organizations to give back to her community.
Most recently, she partnered with Staples to upgrade the Los Angeles Youth Network’s Therapy Building. Kate and her husband Joey leverage their YouTube following of almost 2 million subscribers to help in huge ways.
Matt is a travel blogger who uses his website to share his adventures and travel hacks. He also uses his platform to give back. In 2015, Matt raised over $15,000 and helped send students learning Spanish at the BEST Academy in Atlanta to Mexico for a two-week immersion trip.
How you can give back with your online business
If you’re feeling warm and fuzzy and inspired to make a difference with your online business, there are so many different ways you can go about it. Whether you’re looking to give back to your community, or help a specific cause, business owners have so many opportunities to leverage their income and resources to help others.
Create a scholarship for your course
Looking for a quick way you can give back to your audience today? Create a scholarship for your online course. No matter how you spin it, there will always be people who just can’t budget to take your online course no matter how badly they want to.
Part of creating an online course comes from the desire to share your knowledge and expertise, so why not give back and share it with a person or two who could really use it?
You could create a seasonal scholarship, set up a Google Forms page, and have people “apply” for your scholarship. After you read through the applications, extend a 100% off coupon to those who you think most deserve it.
Donate a portion of your launch to your favorite charity
Planning on launching during this festive season? Consider donating a portion of your profits to your favorite cause.
This does two things: gives you an opportunity to serve, and makes your students feel great about buying your course knowing that their money will be put to good use.
You don’t have to commit a huge chunk of your income to charity, either. Even just saying that for every course sold you’ll donate $2 is enough, and every bit will make a difference.
Want to make sure your favorite charity or fund of choice is reputable? Check their rating out here.
Ask your students to donate to a cause in exchange for a discount
If you want to give your audience more control over where the money is being donated, you can urge them to donate to their favorite charity in exchange for a discount to your online course.
Tell your students to email you a screenshot from them donating to their favorite program—no matter how much—and you’ll give them a discount to your online course.
Speak to kids in your community
You’re a super cool online entrepreneur and you probably know a thing or two about paving the way to success for yourself.
Impart that wisdom on your local youth. Who knows, you might just be that inspiring figure who sparks the mind of the next Steve Jobs.
Raise awareness about issues that matter to you
Being an online entrepreneur gives you a platform that most people don’t have. If there is an issue or crisis that you think could benefit from more attention, you could use your social channels or website to bring light to it.
Whether you tweet a link to a resource page, post a picture on Instagram with efforts to educate your audience, or you put a small ad to a charity in the sidebar of your website—everything helps.
Who did we miss? Tell us in the comments—or, better yet, on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram—who else is doing amazing things to help other with their online business. And let us know if you put any of these strategies to use!
Psssst! Want to make the list next year? Create your online course and start giving back!