Small business/restaurant owners everywhere have been hit hard by this pandemic. They have not only had to lay off their employees but have had to close their doors. They are not only wondering when this will end but also what it will look like on the other side. These establishments usually work on tight margins and even a small drop in sales has a huge effect on their bottom line.

We all have been sitting around during this lockdown phase and wondering what we can do to help however small.

One way we keep hearing of supporting the small businesses/restaurants is to buy gift cards from them as that gives them immediate cash and we can use the gift cards down the road when social distancing ends.

But what if we take this buying a gift card step further and start a Gift Chain (#startagiftchain) which will help that original gift card amount go further.

So let’s see if I can explain this with an example:

  • I call my favorite local business and buy a $50 gift card (but this is not for me to use)
  • I then will ask that business to Pay that Gift Card Forward towards attracting new orders to their store.
  • The store owner can come up with a plan based on their average order amount. So if a restaurant’s average order is $50, they can say for any new orders that come in at $50 or more the customer will get a $10 complimentary gift card.
  • Now that original $50 gift card has just brought in $250 worth of business and there was no money out of the owner’s pocket.

Now it may sound like a donation, but most one time donations are just that, “One-Time”. But by starting a Gift Card Chain, you are actually growing that “one-time donation” amount. And encourage that customer getting the complimentary discount to pay it forward by doing the same for their favorite local business. Hopefully, this will have the same catalytic effect the way Mark Ruffalo’s Starbucks Pay It Forward initiative did.

If you cannot help monetarily currently, there are some other ways to make an impact. One way to help them is to be their mini marketer – Like, Comment, and Share their posts/their stories on social media channels. You could also write those much-promised reviews on Yelp/Google. This will help promote them to your friends/family members and will help get the messages and posts to a larger audience. Maybe you could send a thank you note/email or a private/direct message of encouragement to them on their Facebook Or Instagram account.

We may not know how long this quarantine/social distancing will last. But we do know we are all in this collectively. We have to support each other and lift each other through these tough and trying times so we can rise like the Phoenix. So let’s all lend a helping hand to these small businesses and keep their heartbeat and spirit alive within our communities.

Would love to hear your thoughts/questions/ideas on how you are helping #supportlocal. Also, please do share if you started a #agiftcardchain in your local community to help spread the love.


  • Ruchi G. Kalra

    Business Storyteller/Coach

    Dancing Raindrops Inc.

    Namaste & Welcome

    I am a spicy blend of Indian, African and American culture. I was born in India, brought up in Africa and came to the US to go to college.

    I have a BS in Math/Computer Science, an MBA in Marketing and 3/4 of a MS in Information systems. I have been married to my best friend who is the love of my life and my very own Bollywood hero I have two amazing kids aged 21 and 18 that make my life a wonderful experience

    I love to do my little bit to help the world in whatever way I can be it through volunteering, coordinating community initiatives, or working with my kid's organization they started in their early teens - Help Humanity Today. One of my other passions is telling stories through my writings and travels, if you get a chance check me out on @footprinttheworld on IG.  I am what I am today because of my parents and everything they have taught me. Those values and all this love keeps me grounded to this confusing yet beautiful and complicated world!

    I know that we add to our story each and every day and I do remember to count my blessings each and every single day.