A business can use the concept of social responsibility to help benefit society as a whole. Though common in practice for many large corporations, social responsibility is not always on the agenda for many small businesses. However, small businesses can benefit greatly from showing social responsibility, provided it is done right. There are several ways of showing social responsibility, including in-house activities and initiatives in the community.

Encourage Recycling

Recycling is easy and very achievable for the average workplace. According to the Inc. magazine, 80 to 90 percent of materials used in today's workplace can be recycled. This can be done by creating lists of recyclable items and offering employees and visitors easy access to recycling bins. If the small business sells a product, the use of reusable shopping totes could be encouraged. If the business supplies a service, the business should use recycled items.

Many community organizations hold fundraisers, from school sports teams to local charities. Often these organizations require products to sell, a location to hold the fundraising event, or both. Small businesses could provide organizations with products for free or at a reduced price, or the business could allow the use of their location. For instance, a community group could use the small business’ parking lot for a car wash or a bake sale.

Offer an Academic Scholarship

The price of higher education has been increasing at a staggering rate for decades. Even a small amount of financial help can benefit a prospective college student. Small businesses could hold a scholarship competition for exceptional high school seniors. The business should be sure to require a detailed application, including a writing sample, so a fair decision can be made on the applicants. Give definite deadlines and promote the event heavily at local high schools.

Get Involved in Community Service

In order to show social responsibility, small businesses can become actively involved in community service activities. The business could provide bottles of water to volunteers working outdoors. Companies could also offer incentives to employees who participate in a certain amount of community service or even require a set amount of hours to be completed by employees. Entrepreneur magazine advises small businesses to become involved with causes that align with the nature of the company. For instance, if you sell groceries, you could sponsor a community garden from which you donate the harvests to local food ministries.

Promote Responsible Behavior

Small businesses can aid in the prevention of dangerous activities by supporting groups that advocate for safe behaviors. The business could sponsor meetings by organizations such as MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) by offering a meeting place. Making donations to these groups is also a way of showing your company is interested in making a difference in the community. The National Federation of Independent Business suggests the company owner or manager sit on the board of a nonprofit agency.