A world crisis breeds panic and uncertainty. But as we’ve seen in recent weeks, it also fosters a sense of camaraderie, goodwill and a desire to help our fellow humans.
Amid head-shaking tales of people ransacking supermarkets and fist-fighting over toilet paper, you’ll find several stories that inspire hope. Like, for example, closed schools continuing free lunch programs to ensure students stay fed, people serenading loved ones outside locked-down nursing homes, and property owners forgoing rent collection.
As a business, you’re likely wondering how you and your team can help others during the coronavirus pandemic, too — not just for the optics, but because it’s the right thing to do.
To inspire your efforts, here are eight examples of companies giving back to their employees, clients and community.
These eight brands are shifting processes to support their teams, customers and the communities in which they do business:
Many colleges, universities and K-12 schools have shuttered their campuses in recent weeks, and some students are struggling to complete their work without on-campus resources. For example, many schools provide access to specific software, but only through on-campus log-ins. And because students can’t always afford their own licenses to these programs, they’re left in the lurch.
To remedy this issue for its customers, Adobe is giving higher education and K-12 customers the ability to request temporary “at-home” access for students and educators, through the end of May, at no additional cost.
Many businesses have temporarily closed in the wake of the virus, while others have implemented layoffs and salary decreases, leaving millions of Americans without work or living on a reduced income.
In response, Ally Bank is waiving fees for overdrafts, expediting checks at no charge, allowing customers to defer payments on home and auto loans, and much more. They’ve also pledged $3 million to help their hometown communities and extended additional paid time off and flexible family care benefits for employees impacted by COVID-19.
In addition to washing your hands and exercising proper hygiene, many people are also making a concerted effort to regularly sanitize their living spaces and electronics — including their phones.
CASETify, a company that creates custom tech accessories, recently released a UV tech sanitizer that destroys 99.9% of the germs living on a phone’s surface. Currently, the company is sending 100% of its proceeds from the sanitizer (which costs $120) to the GlobalGiving Coronavirus Relief Fund.
Older people are especially vulnerable because they often experience a more severe case of the disease than the younger demographic. Understandably, many people in the 60-and-up category are fearful of venturing out to gather the essentials they need.
To help protect them from exposure, some stores, like Dollar General, are designating “senior store hours” — times of day (usually the first hour the store is open) reserved only for older adult customers. Many stores, including Dollar General, are also closing earlier to ensure staff has plenty of time to clean stores, stock shelves and care for themselves.
Food delivery apps have become an ultra-convenient solution for those of us too deep in a Netflix binge session to pick up our takeout. And during the pandemic, they’ve become crucial as more and more people practice social distancing and follow shelter-in-place mandates. But not everyone has access to this kind of luxury.
To help low-income families, seniors and mobility-impaired individuals stay fed, DoorDash has teamed up with United Way Worldwide to deliver one million pounds of prepared meals and groceries. The company is also supporting food banks in San Francisco, Sacramento and Chicago.
As investors pull back, stock markets dip and budgets tighten, millions of businesses around the world are facing difficult decisions. Additionally, with many people working from home, teams often struggle to stay connected to their customers and one another.
To help clients keep their businesses up and running, HubSpot is adding several free tools to user portals. They’re also suspending marketing email send limits, reducing prices for small business services by more than 55%, and offering a six-month advance on Solutions Partners’ commissions.
Many teams are now working remotely (some for the first time), and businesses are relying on virtual communication more than ever. Meanwhile, schools are also depending on video tools to ensure students still receive a quality education while home.
Virtual recording and sharing service Loom is working to make this easier. Through July 1, 2020, the company is removing its recording limits on free plans, slashing the price of their pro service in half, and doubling the length of free trials. Furthermore, they’re making their pro version free for all educational institutions forever.
Music has always eased people’s hearts and minds in times of trouble, and now music streaming giant Spotify is taking this mission a step further with a three-pronged support approach.
First, the company is providing financial support directly to the CDC Foundation Emergency Response Fund and the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Secondly, it’s offering a portion of ad inventory to nonprofits and governments that need to share potentially life-saving messages with users across the globe. Third, Spotify launched its own COVID-19 Music Relief fundraising site, where it’s committing to matching donations dollar-for-dollar to help musicians in need.
No matter your company size, budget or industry, there are always opportunities to lend a hand during a crisis. Here are a few ways you can take a cue from the eight above brands:
While no one knows how much longer we’ll be in this situation or what life will look like afterward, we must all do our part. By reaching out to help one another, we can counteract rampant negativity and fear, and ensure that, once this is all over, we’ll be prepared to pick up and move ahead.