Your small business needs a “Cares Fund” By: Clint Fiore

It will help your employees, save you a ton of stress, and solve a common dilemma.

Here’s how:



Employee asks for an advance on their paycheck or to borrow money. They present their story / reasoning and ask earnestly, nicely (usually).

This puts the SMB Owner in a tough spot. You care and want to help but you’re concerned:

– will this become a pattern with this person?

– will I set a precedent for other employees?

– I don’t want my employees indebted to me!

– where do I draw the line on when I say yes and no?



Solution: A “Cares Fund”.

6 easy steps:

1) Allocate a small percentage of payroll into an account with a cap of X dollars.

2) Have employees vote on 3 employee peers to review and submit fund requests to ownership.

3) Create a process for employees to submit Cares Fund requests to peer review panel, for themselves, or anonymously for other teammates’ needs.

4) Owners receive the recommendations of employee panel and pay them through payroll as a one-time bonus, up to the available $, never a loan.

5) Fund automatically replenishes as payroll % allows once drawn on.

6) Rotate the peer review team every so often (6 mo or so).

Our family business is a garden center with lots of seasonal and part time employees, and this was a common issue and this solution has been extremely well received.

“Smith’s Cares” has been a win/win for the team and the management. Employees care for each other w/company $.


We’re a pretty small businesss and cap at $4K in the account. It’s a small expense with a big positive impact. We’ve seen it used for:

– funeral expenses

– car repairs

– emergency childcare, special needs for kids

– vet bills

– medical bills

I hope this thread has been beneficial and you’ll set up a Cares Fund for your SMB.


LMK if you have variations/suggestions!


Credit for this idea came from my brother’s C12 Group feedback (Christian CEO Round Table Organization) that helps CEOs lead with compassion and wisdom.

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