Small Business = Big Community Impact

Basketball teams, youth activities, religious groups, educational foundations – What do all of these non-profit organizations have in common? They all rely heavily on the generosity of the community and small businesses account for a large part of those donations.

In 2011, corporate giving accounted for only 5% of total donations. One big box store is advertising heavily that they will be donating $1 billion to support education. While this number is very impressive, small businesses average $40 Billion Each Year in charitable donations. The difference is that each small business gives a smaller dollar amount and is unable to afford the kind of press the larger organizations get about their donations.

You may or may not be surprised by some additional statistics: 91% of small employers contributed to their local community in some fashion last year, 74% of small business owners volunteered their time and averaged 18 working days per year – over a half a month of service, 39% of employers allow their employees time to volunteer on the clock, 1 of every 10 small businesses donates more than $10,000 in CASH each year.

I want to spend some time highlighting ways that local businesses give back to the community. The reason cited most by small businesses for giving back? Personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

Donations come in all shapes, sizes and, in this case, colors. Munchkin Nursery owners Gene Bush and JoAn Riley, who specializes in shade perennials and rare or unusual plants, donate plants to the Whitehall Historical Home and Southern Indiana Botanical Society for their work at Mount St. Francis. They provide these organizations with the opportunity to showcase plants that many people have never seen in Southern Indiana because they are so rare like this Azalea.

Another local company, Looking Glass Salon and Spa is celebrating their 20th Anniversary by giving back to the community that has supported them for so long. They have scheduled one project per month for all of 2013. Last month, they worked at St. Mark’s Soup Kitchen and will be giving haircuts at their back-to-school event in August. They have also reached out to an organization to provide haircuts and instruction on how to style their hair to children at a local shelter.

community impact

DanceWorks’ canned food drive.

DanceWorks’ owners Ann and Robert Colin organize supplies drives and events throughout the year to support the community. Their motto is “Together DanceWorks teachers, dancers and families form a community that can change the community,” says owner Robert Colin. They have hosted Easter basket drives, canned food drives, baby needs drives and organized performances to entertain those that cannot get out for cultural events at nursing homes.

Every organization is different and so are their giving opportunities. Lisa Brooking of True Colors Tanning has helped organize coat drives for Goodwill and served as the Treasurer for the Silver Creek Little League to lend her business financial brain to an organization that needed help with the books. True Colors also has a team for the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana’s walk at the zoo and raised $4,000 in their 8th year.

Some give their time, some give inventory, some give cash, but all make an enormous difference on the community through their donations! The next time you go into any non-profit, ask to see their donor wall, I am sure you will see many local businesses represented. In fact, drop by the Southeast ISBDC in downtown New Albany and take a look at our Sponsor Wall if you are ever in the area. A sincere thank you to the small businesses that make such a big difference in this community!

Sources: Charity Navigator (5% stat)

Small Business Contact Info – I have permission to use this info from all of the clients:
     Munchkin Nursery 
     True Colors 
     Looking Glass

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