At seedership, we truly believe that small businesses are the roots that feed a growing and thriving community. The ways in which small businesses give back to their communities through charity and how they provide goods, services, jobs, and character for local communities perpetuate a positive feedback cycle that allows small businesses to grow along with their communities.
In theory, customers should care about the success of your business as much as they care about the success of their community. But how many of your customers actually know how much they are helping their community grow by giving you their purchasing dollars? This question leads to an even more important one that you, as a small business owner, want to get to the root of: how do you leverage your charitable giving into an ongoing investment that benefits both your business and community? The answer comes down to transparency and visibility.
In other words, the answer lays in how you are tracking all the things you give and how you are sharing your community story with your customers. From our 2020 Spring Into Kindness Small Business Study, we know that small businesses have more opportunities to be transparent and visible about the good they do for their communities.
We also know that small businesses are some of the biggest givers, with 97% preferring to give to local causes and nonprofits. When you are able to be fully transparent about what you give and are able to share your community story in an authentic way, it can help customers care about the success of your business that can now be obviously linked to the things you bring to your community. Let’s explore how transparency and visibility can improve customer engagement further.
In a previous blog, we discussed how for businesses, providing your customers transparency is now considered “business as usual.” We introduced the seedership customer engagement model or community model. The basis of the model is all the things—and by things we mean money donated, time volunteered, in-kind goods contributed, and so on—your business does to show your customers that you care, which builds trust, and allows you to keep working to grow your community. Here it is to refresh your memory:
From our 2020 Spring Into Kindness Small Business Study, we found that most small businesses (60%) consider community giving to be an investment as opposed to a trade-off or an expense. If community giving is thought of as an investment, you would want to account for every dollar, hour, and item invested towards giving back, right? Well, according to our study, we found that most small businesses (73%) kept track of the money associated with giving, others also tracked the time spent volunteering (41%), sponsorships and collection drives (37%), fundraising efforts (30%), in-kind products and services (27%), and company resources (21%).
Although most focus on tracking money, everything that your small business gives back—whether it’s the hours you or your employees spent volunteering, or the number of school supplies collected from a drive, for example—adds up to make a difference for your community. So, if you think that a one-time gift card donation to a teacher, or taking an hour to mentor a person in the community isn’t worth being tracked, think again. Everything little thing adds up to make a bigger difference
When you keep track of everything you do for your community, you are offering your customers insight and transparency into the things that matter to your business. Seeing how much you care about your community can build trust, and, by extension, make your customers care about the success of your business as much as they care about their community. Now that you have an understanding of how important transparency is regarding community giving, taking that a step further and being visible can help leverage your good acts into business and community growth.
Everything that you give matters to your community, but in order for your customers to find out about what you give back making the good you do a visible part of your business identity is crucial. According to recent consumer studies, most consumers look up a business online or read other consumer reviews before making a purchase. Do you know if the good your business does for your community is visible for these inquisitive customers?
From our 2020 Spring Into Kindness Small Business Study, we know that 99% of small businesses gave back within the last year. Your business is most likely in this overwhelming percentage of businesses that give back. Therefore, your business has a community story that shows your customers how you care for them and the wellbeing of the community. Just like how every dollar, hour, and thing adds up to make a difference for the community, they are also worthy of being shared with your customers to create a meaningful and engaging community story.
Why share the outcomes of your community giving efforts? When you are visible about the kind things you do around the community, it tells your customers that their purchasing dollars are being used in part to help grow the community. According to another consumer survey by Mintel, your customers are looking for businesses that give back to the community. In fact, nearly two-thirds believe it is a business’ responsibility to give back. With such strong statistics showing that consumers are now expecting to see proof of the good you do for them and the causes they care about, sharing what you do can help close that communication gap.
What’s more, when your business is visible about what you’re giving back, your customers feel more involved and engaged with your good act knowing that their purchase enabled it to happen. For example, if you are sponsoring a fundraiser at your store, you are most likely telling your customers about it at the cash register, in a social media post, or in some other way to get them to participate. When your effort is completed, sharing the outcome of your giving campaign brings all your efforts full circle, and gives you the opportunity to thank your customers for supporting the cause and your business.
So how do you make your customers care about the success of your business? Providing transparency and visibility into what you give back, how you give back, and why you give back can drive home the idea that your business is the foundation of community growth. If your customers care about the health and growth of their community and see your business’ community story, they will understand how important you are to the community ecosystem.
As you can see, doing good can indeed help your business and community grow. At seedership, we know that as a business owner, your time is extremely valuable and limited. We invented the seedership sharing platform to help you track, measure, and share the good you do for your customers and community. Our platform is easy to use, engaging, and accessible for busy owners such as yourself. Now every dollar, every hour, and everything your business does for your community can be accounted for and shared to your website, social media accounts, or other places your customers can find you.
Let seedership help you craft your community story. Sign up today for your free 30-day trial of our platform.