Three people volunteering at a shelter.

How Your Small Business Can Show Up for Military Appreciation Month

Some businesses plan to roll out holiday weekend sales in honor of Memorial Day - marketing-worthy gestures aimed at attracting attention and customers at the end of May.

But your business might also want to consider acknowledging May as Military Appreciation Month, which was designated by Congress in 1999. 

According to a, May is an ideal month to designate as Military Appreciation Month since it already includes several military anniversaries and events. These include Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Armed Forces Day, and Memorial Day, which is to remember the sacrifices and service of those who gave their all.

Here are several ideas you and your business could show appreciation for the military during May.

Reach Out to Veteran-Owned Businesses, Military Customers

Make the time to find a veteran-owned company or a business owned by current military personnel or family in your area, an online community, or a mutual network, and reach out about a possible partnership.

About 2.4 million veterans own businesses in the U.S., according to an estimate provided by the SBA. Identify a business that would be a good fit with yours, similar in type or the same industry, and explore how you might collaborate.

Consider co-sponsoring a Military Appreciation Month event in May or one that recognizes a military event or anniversary that's important to the business owner or its customers.

Offer discounts or a special promotion on your products or services to show appreciation to current and former military personnel during the month.

Volunteer or Donate to Groups that Advocate for Military Populations

There are over 45,000 nonprofit organizations that offer services to U.S. veterans, according to the nonprofit monitoring website GuideStar.

Find a military-serving charity and contribute on behalf of your business or create a donation campaign that could benefit the organization.

Military Appreciation Month is also an excellent time to volunteer at an organization serving veterans in your area. Check around for veteran and other military-serving charities that might have organized time and tasks for a volunteer group. 

There might also be a volunteer opportunity at a local monument area or park honoring veterans - see if you and your employees could offer gardening, cleaning, or other types of maintenance.

Promote Veterans As Entrepreneurs And Business Owners

Are you a veteran who started and now owns your own business? If the answer is yes, think about finding an opportunity to share your experiences in recognition of this military appreciating month.

Another idea is to tell people how you found inspiration to become a business owner or in what way your military background helps you run the company.

Find a way to communicate your startup story, whether on social media or internally to employees (also acknowledge any employees who served in the military). Consider participating as a speaker in a local Military Appreciation Month public forum or business networking event in your community. 

In a U.S. Census Bureau report published last year about its Annual Business survey, veteran-owned businesses encompassed 5.7% (331,151) of all businesses. The report added that these businesses recorded $963.4 billion in receipts.

According to an SBA study, military service exhibits one of the biggest marginal effects on self-employment, with veterans being 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than those who aren't.

With such a high percentage, the SBA stated on its Facts About Veterans and Entrepreneurs’ page that it's clear how much of impact veterans have on the overall economy.