Small businesses view what they give back to their communities as an investment (60%) and important to their business’ growth (70%), but underestimate the full value of their donations and the competitive advantage they could gain, according to seedership’s Spring into Kindness Small Business Study. Conducted by Drive Research, an independent market research firm, the study surveyed small businesses across the nation to examine how and why they give back, and their expectations of benefits from their charitable contributions.
“Throughout the past two years, we’ve learned that small businesses care deeply for their communities and give back primarily out of passion to make a difference, and since the outbreak of COVID-19 we have seen their desire to help heightened,” said Jennifer Smithberger, cofounder of seedership. “Our study reinforces the authenticity of small businesses’ commitment to their communities and also identifies additional opportunities for giving – to better advance their marketing efforts and business growth.”
Following are key themes uncovered by the Spring into Kindness Small Business Study.
Small businesses have big hearts and are deeply rooted in their communities
● Nearly all (99%) of small businesses gave back to their communities within the past year, and 93% have plans to also give in 2020.
● More than two-thirds (70%) gave consistently throughout the year, with 87% asked to donate at least once a month.
● Most (97%) prefer to give to local causes and nonprofits.
Giving is considered an investment that is important to their growth
● The majority (60%) considers their giving an investment in their business versus a trade-off or expense, with 70% stating community giving is important to their growth.
● 69% stated that their primary return on investment (ROI) from giving is their personal satisfaction from supporting their communities, followed by 68% measuring ROI by the ability to create a benefit in their communities.
● Three-quarters (75%) want to increase their community giving, while approximately half cite that the lack of available finances (50%) and time (46%) prevents them from doing so.
The time and resources they donate to their communities are undervalued and understated
● They give back to their communities in multiple ways, with money being the primary (75%) method, followed by volunteering their time (62%), items gathered in collection drives (58%) and in-kind donations (35%).
● While almost all (95%) track their community giving, most track the monetary value of what they give – either as money donated (73%) or money raised (30%) – leaving a hazier picture around other giving components, such as time and items.
● Three out of four stated that they could promote their community giving more effectively, citing that the most common methods they utilize to drive awareness of their efforts are word of mouth (69%) and Facebook (67%).
Recent studies have shown that consumers prefer doing business with organizations that support a cause. They are motivated to buy knowing that their purchase is helping make a positive impact on society. The seedership study provides insight into the unique opportunities small businesses have to grow as a result of their close connections with, and continual support of, their local communities.
“In today’s environment, strong communities matter more than ever. Consumers want to help support the small businesses that give their community character, create jobs, foster the local economy and give back to causes they care about. The good that a small business does every day makes up their community story – a story that can help their business grow,” Smithberger said.
To read the full study, along with an infographic illustrating key findings, please visit seedership.com/research.