At Constant Contact, we know that it takes a strong community to foster successful small businesses.

That’s why we care about the communities we serve just as much as we care about our customers.

Each year we challenge ourselves to find new, creative ways to give back and get involved. Whether it’s through cleaning up a local park or holding a spelling bee for charity, we strive to unite our employees for a good cause and great time!

This month, we held our Fourth Annual Charity Auction, where we raised money for three local nonprofit organizations.

Our employees nominated their favorite nonprofits as potential auction beneficiaries and the three most popular organizations were selected as recipients.

The organizations chosen this year include the TargetCancer Foundation, which promotes the development of lifesaving treatment protocols for rare cancers; the Alzheimer’s Association of Massachusetts/New Hampshire, whose mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s and enhance the lives of those already affected; and Fairy DogParents, a nonprofit that helps prevent dogs from being surrendered to shelters.

Employees donated over one hundred items and services to be included in this year’s auction — ranging from a hand-knit baby hat to front row seats at a Red Sox game. One employee offered to deliver a Dunkin Donuts coffee to a coworker every Friday for 12 weeks, while another volunteered their treehouse for a cocktail party.

Many items offered unique experiences to the highest bidder such as a day of sport-fishing and a boat cruise around the Boston Harbor. As always, there were plenty of options for our hungry employees including homemade baked goods, fresh pasta, queso, ice cream sundaes and more!

Most bidding take places through an online portal, but the real fun happens at our Live Auction where employees join together for food, drinks, and fun as they raise their paddles to in hopes of claiming one of the final items up for grabs, including a weekend away to Martha’s Vineyard.

We are proud to announce that this year, Constant Contact raised more than $25,000, breaking our previous record by more than $5,000!

We could not have done it without the extreme generosity of our employees, and we are so excited to continue to make giving back fun and beneficial for all!

How can your small business do something similar?

Think about the nonprofit organizations that are making a difference in your local community. Partnering with them could have big benefits for your business and positively impact a great cause.

Here are some quick tips:

1. Ask your employees for suggestions for organizations to partner with.

They’ll be more invested if it’s a cause they care about— ask them to contribute their ideas.

2. Think of a unique way to raise funds.

A restaurant could donate a fraction of sales to a local food kitchen, or a spa could host a night of free services and collect donations for a nature conservancy. Even if your initiative is ongoing, you can use an event as a celebration and final push for raising funds.

3. Keep your audience in the know.

If you want to have a big impact, get the word out through email marketing and your social channels. Create fundraising goals and let your audience know how they can get involved.

Has your small business partnered with a nonprofit in the past? Tell us all about it in the comments below.