On the Sixteenth Day of Christmas…

One of my firm beliefs as a small business entrepreneur is that every business has the power and ability to make an impact on the world using the power of small!

Every year that goes past, one person in our world should be breathing easier because of us – the business entrepreneurs.

It’s that simple. Make it your annual goal.

This Christmas, there are so many with so little. Or, in fact, nothing. They are the people (and animals) who are forgotten, are unseen, as we dash around scooping up toys and hanging twinkly lights and butchering Michael Buble’s Christmas album and arguing about whether to serve trifle or pudding for dessert on Christmas day (I say trifle, because TRIFLE).

They are the women in shelters. The jobless men sleeping in cars or in city doorways. The children ricocheting between foster carers. Or living on the street. Or in homes where despair sits like a heavy fog around the kitchen table. They are the animals that are left, forgotten, rescued who have lost faith in the kindness of human beings.

And so it is up to us – you and me – to step up.

Read this list. Pick one thing and do it this Christmas season. Santa will love you all the more for it.

1. The Pyjama Foundation

Over the last decade, the number of children living in foster care in Australia has doubled and as a group they have the worst educational outcomes of any group of children in Australia. 92% of children in foster care have below average reading skills by the time they are only seven years of age, and it is a struggle for them to catch up.

So that’s where The Pyjama Foundation steps in. The organisation sends “Reading Angels” into the homes of foster kids every week to read books aloud to the children, which in turn improves their literacy.

HOW TO HELP THIS CHRISTMAS: The Pyjama Foundation is holding their annual toy drive so they can give a present to every child in foster care. You can also sponsor a ‘Pyjama Angel’, who will help children in foster care to read.

Every year the Pyjama Foundation also hosts Christmas Parties throughout Queensland, Sydney and Melbourne to help the kids in their program. Call (07) 3256 8802 or check out their website for more here: http://www.thepyjamafoundation.com

2. The Smith Family

This year the Smith Family is determined to spread Christmas cheer to the 638,000 Aussie children who live in jobless families. What I love about the Smith Family website is that you can choose a toy ONLINE and donate it.

Clickety-click from your desk and you can be tossing up between say a Puppy Surprise or a rather awesome looking Star Wars Walkie Talkie.

Check them out here: https://www.thesmithfamily.com.au

3. The Kmart Wishing Tree /Salvation Army

Enid Blyton couldn’t have made up something better than this … a Christmas tree that magically fills up with presents for disadvantaged kids. The Kmart Wishing tree is an institution and a great one to do with your own kids to help teach them about the power of giving and the combat skills necessary to survive a Kmart store in the lead up to Christmas. And remember when you place your gift under The Wishing Tree, make your own wish … something like, I don’t know maybe .. “Please don’t let Uncle Greg get drunk and touch my Aunty in public, inappropriately again this year …”

Check them out here:

4. Thankyou

This awesome social enterprise was born in 2008 in response to the World Water Crisis. At that time, over 900 million people didn’t have access to safe drinking water on a daily basis, yet the Australian bottled water industry was worth an estimated $600 million a year. Pretty wild given Aussies can access safe water straight from the tap!

Co-founder Daniel Flynn pulled together a group of friends in Melbourne and together turned an idea to launch a line of bottled water that would fund water projects overseas into a reality. In July 2013 it was rebranded as Thankyou, complete with two new ranges: food and body care and today, Thankyou has over 40 products available in 5000 outlets in Australia (including 7 Eleven, Coles and Woolworths). The idea was to take a more holistic approach to combating poverty, with 100% of our profits funding safe water, food and hygiene and sanitation services around the world. In the second half of 2016 we launched Thankyou baby, a nappy and baby care range that funds child and maternal health programs around the globe to empower families in need.

100% of the profits from their awesome products go to helping people in need and they have a special Christmas range of life-changing gift sets this year too!

Check them our here: https://thankyou.co/

5. Orange Sky Laundry

After seeing Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett present at a conference on the Gold Coast, this is another charity that has an amazing reach in Australia.

This charity combines the simple act of laundering clothes, bedding etc for the homeless with the kindness of engaging them in a conversation whilst this is being done.

In the one hour time it takes to wash and dry someone’s clothes there is absolutely nothing to do but sit down on one of our 6 orange chairs and have a positive and genuine conversation between their everyday volunteers and everyday friends on the street.

Orange Sky Laundry is the world’s first free mobile laundry service for the homeless. A crazy idea in 2014 to put two washing machines and two dryers in a van and wash and dry clothes for free. Starting in the streets of Brisbane, Orange Sky has now grown to 10 services across Australia in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney, Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, SE Melbourne and Hobart. Orange Sky Laundry now does over 6.9 tonnes of laundry every week. However most importantly, has over 1,300 hours of positive and genuine conversations every week.

Check them out here:http://www.orangeskylaundry.com.au

6. B1G1 – Business for Good

Probably the greatest revolution in giving and social enterprise to date and my personal favourite!

B1G1 is a Social Enterprise and non-profit organisation with a mission to create a world that’s full of giving. Unlike conventional giving models, B1G1 helps small and medium sized businesses achieve more social impact by embedding giving activities in their everyday business operations to create unique Giving Stories. Every business transaction (and as a result, your everyday activity) can impact lives from as little as just 1 cent.

Through this simply awesome organisation, we can all give back by just by doing the things we do every day. for example a coffee shop can give hope to others less fortunate around the world every time they sell a cup of coffee.

With B1G1, your business makes a real difference: water to those who have none, safety for Orangutans in Borneo, supporting orphans and impoverished children, planting trees… you choose precisely and simply how you want to impact lives.

We are lifetime partners of B1G1 and together we are closing in on 1 billion giving impacts around the world.

Check them our here: https://www.b1g1.com/businessforgood

There are hundreds of ways to give back over the Christmas season but we thought we’d make it easy for you and list a few wonderful campaigns that will make your heart soar better than any Hugh Grant –Dancing-To-The-Pointer-Sisters movie.

What’s your favourite charity? How can you make a difference to someone this Christmas?

Have a great day!

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