Ron Lou, owner of the Angry Crab Shack restaurant, is pictured at a table with children from two charities his restaurant supports.
Ron Lou, Founder of the Angry Crab Shack, counsels business owners to involve employees in the charities they support, which solidifies the collaboration and employee support. — Photo by Ron Lou.

If you could create your own fantasy board of directors, who would be on it? CO— connects you with thought leaders from across the business spectrum and asks them to help solve your biggest business challenges. In this edition, we ask an expert about how your small business can become more charitable.

In this edition of "Ask the Board," we're pleased to feature Ron Lou, Founder of the Angry Crab Shack. Lou shares his tips on how you can build a charitable small business that emphasizes giving back to communities and others.

The benefits of charitable contributions for your small business are endless. They help create brand awareness, improve employee retention, and ultimately lead to greater profits. Here are several ways to incorporate these benefits into your organization.

Partner with community organizations that you identify with both as a person and as a brand

It is important to have more than a financial relationship with your community partners. Focus on organizations that are important to both your employees and guests and that they are passionate about supporting.

Keep in mind that your brand identity and choice of charitable partners should complement one other. The Angry Crab Shack is a family restaurant, so partnering with an organization such as the Phoenix Children's Hospital to support families and their kids during their hospital stays is a perfect match.

Igniting a passion about making a positive difference in your community can boost morale and help your employees look at their employment as more than a paycheck.

Include your customers and allow them to participate

If you give back to your community, it's your job to make it easy for your guests to get involved. At Angry Crab Shack, we create promotions and campaigns that allow our guests to participate simply by dining with us. Two examples are our Phoenix Children's Fries and our You Dine We Donate campaign.

Phoenix Children's Fries is a yearlong promotion tied to a specific menu item. Each time a guest purchases this menu item, Angry Crab Shack donates a portion of the sale to Children's Phoenix Hospital.

The other example is our annual You Dine, We Donate campaign, which takes place each July. This program raises money from each guest who dines at any of our locations and benefits the Arizona Housing Coalition, which helps at-risk veterans.

Learn and participate

Remember, you are in a partnership with these organizations. Therefore, it's vital to understand the full scope and culture of the organizations you choose.

Arrange tours for your employees, let them ask questions, and give them an opportunity to volunteer at events. The more involved you become with the organization, the more it becomes part of your business.

Inform your employees about your accomplishments.

Whether it's hitting a milestone donation, updating the staff on events, or sharing stories about how your company has made an impact, tell your employees. Your employees should feel good about themselves and the work your company does to give back to the community. Igniting a passion about making a positive difference in your community can boost morale and help your employees look at their employment as more than a paycheck.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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