Around the globe people continue to lose trust in the institutions they historically relied on to advance society. Businesses are now more trusted and, with that, expectations are rising. Achieving profit alone is not enough. They must also harness their expertise, resources and entrepreneurship to accelerate positive change and be recognized as a force for good. Consumers are driving this trend with their purchasing power and ability to influence brand reputation.
Large businesses have taken notice. It is no longer just about brand awareness, but, in fact, the right thing to do, and an essential component of growth and sustainability. The magnitude of this shift was amplified in 2019 when nearly 200 CEOs of American multinationals signed The Business Roundtable Purpose of a Corporation, putting stakeholder benefit – customers, employees, suppliers and communities – on equal footing with shareholder responsibility. At the 2020 World Economic Forum, which brought together world leaders in business, academics and politics, the word “stakeholder capitalism” took center stage as an urgent call to action to improve the planet, employee value, and the communities in which they operate.
In contrast, this is what small businesses have always done. For them, making a difference in their community and giving back to those who support their livelihood is not simply a business strategy; it’s a part of who they are and how they operate every day. While contributing to their community is vital to their success, what they do is often undervalued and understated.
That is why we partnered with Drive Research to conduct our first-ever seedership Spring into Kindness Small Business Study to analyze what small businesses, across multiple industries, are doing to help strengthen their communities. We dove into more details, such as what they give back, how they determine who to give to, and what sorts of ROI can be generated through community outreach and through making those efforts visible to the public. Here are some valuable findings from our research.
Watch the webinar of the Spring into Kindness national study focused on small businesses giving back in the local community.