Have you ever heard the saying, “a little goes a long way?” This is especially true when it comes to kindness and giving back. In fact, famous aviator Amelia Earhart said something that particularly resonates with us. She is quoted as saying, “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”
For us at seedership, we stand by the notion that kindness helps everyone grow, and that small businesses are the roots that feed a thriving community. Amelia Earhart’s quote perfectly encapsulates the dream and mission of our sharing platform: to inspire small businesses and their communities to grow from kindness.
We have talked to so many small business owners across the country about the kindness they show to their community and what they give back. In our 2020 Spring Into Kindness Small Business Study, we found that small businesses are some of the biggest contributors to their communities. 70% of small businesses give back continuously throughout the year, with 87% saying they are asked by charities and organizations to give at least once during the month.
Not only do small businesses get called upon by their neighbors to give back, but an overwhelming majority (97%) told us that they preferred to give back to local causes and nonprofits to benefit the communities around them. Clearly, if we go back to Earhart’s quote, small businesses give back and are planting the roots of kindness in their communities every day. Even in times of adversity, like now during the global pandemic, we have seen small businesses adapt their business models to serve their customers and help in the efforts to keep their neighborhoods healthy and safe.
With all that small businesses give back, it’s inspiring to read stories of how they donate their time, services, goods, and funds to help the communities around them grow. We know from consumer studies that your customers feel the same way and are looking to support businesses that are actively involved in helping their communities grow. Keeping track of all the things your business does for your community can give your business an advantage over others that are not tracking and sharing what they give back.
These acts of kindness, no matter their size, also have a value and the effect of them on the community goes beyond a simple monetary value. Kindness has the power of amplification—people love hearing and sharing stories on how others uplift others. Being transparent and open about everything—from large months-long campaigns to one-time donations—your business goes for your neighborhoods can help spread the word of your business and your good deeds.
If your business is one of the many that are actively out in the community and giving back, remember that everything adds up to something larger. If you think that you shouldn’t make your regular, everyday contributions or gestures of goodwill part of your community story, you’re missing an opportunity to amplify your charitable giving. When your business is open and transparent about what you do for your communities it helps bring awareness to the cause you’re supporting and shows your customers that their purchasing dollars are going towards something greater.
From our study, we know that most small businesses (72.5%) keep track of money contributed to a campaign, but less keep track of charitable giving activities like the time spent volunteering (41%), sponsorships (36.5%), collection drives (36.5%), fundraising (29.6%), in-kind goods and services (27%) company resources like office space, vehicles, technology, furniture, etc. (21.4%), and employee matching grants (11.6%). These acts of kindness also have value.
You probably have heard, “it’s the thought that counts,” before in your life. When it comes to businesses that give back to their community it really is true: it IS the thought that counts. It matters to your customers that your business cares and is doing something for the community. And being as your business is so intertwined with your community, the more you are doing, the more the community will notice and appreciate your kindness.
A great example of this that we’ve seen was with our friends at River Bend Bookshop in Glastonbury, Connecticut. We sat down for a virtual chat with Audrey, an employee at River Bend, to discuss the book store how they have been adapting since the shelter in place orders took effect. During our conversation, Audrey told us about River Bend’s Sunday storytime for children they would host at their shop. Since having to close, Audrey pushed to make storytime a virtual event to show their customers they are there for them. She told us, “[it helps us] to stay consistent and to keep showing up for our community and remind them that we are there for them … And it has been a really positive experience … it just seemed like a natural thing for our store to do.”
We were also impressed by River Bend’s Bundle of Book program that has been running since the nation-wide quarantine took effect. With schools, libraries, and other learning resources closing, River Bend saw a way that their business can fill in the gaps these closures have left in their communities. The program allows customers to contribute $25 for a bundle of between seven to ten children’s books that River Bend distributes to families in need all throughout the Glastonbury area.
Just spending a little time providing their customers this extended service has kept River Bend’s community engaged with their business all while showing them that they are committed to serving them even during challenging times. So if something like a virtual storytime, a book bundle, or a similar event seems natural for your business, it is something that can really matter to your customers and makes a long-lasting impression.
Think about it. If you’ve ever been in a committed relationship, have trained for an athletic competition, tried to learn a new skill, or mastered a fine art, for example, you know that putting a little time and effort into something regularly adds up to something larger. Being consistent and mindful in anything you do greatly improves your chances of success. And if your business can’t commit large amounts of capital or resources upfront for a large campaign, that doesn’t mean the smaller things that you do on a regular basis for your neighborhood can’t also have a huge impact.
When it comes to showing kindness to your community, there is no such thing as small gestures. Every act matters and it counts for your customers. With seedership, we’ve created a robust sharing platform that helps small businesses keep track of everything you do for your communities. We will help you create the transparency your customers are craving to see with our easy-to-use sharing platform. With a few clicks and keystrokes, you can see how everything you give back adds up to a larger value.
Take advantage of our 30-day free trial of seedership, and start doing good and growing today!