In an increasingly digital age, in-person and written 'thank yous' still dominate
According to a recent survey, 73 percent of small businesses provide support to local charitable and communal causes to show their commitment to giving back and to express appreciation to customers and the community. The study, conducted by TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®, revealed that even though small businesses typically have fewer resources than larger companies, they still donate money, time and resources to support these causes.
Giving Back, Even with Limited Resources
TD's survey polled small businesses with $5 million or less in annual revenue and found that although they may not have major profit margins, 61 percent provide a value of up to $10,000 to their community through charitable gifts, sponsorships or volunteer time on an annual basis. Notably, 16 percent of businesses report donating $50,000 or more in gifts and time annually. In addition to their own charitable efforts, 37 percent of Small Business Owners (SBOs) encourage their employees to volunteer in their surrounding communities outside of work hours. However, despite their dedication to local efforts, the majority of small businesses (79 percent) do not have an established Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program or defined community giving or volunteer mission.
“Most small businesses, by their nature, are entrenched in their local cities and towns, serving as both an economic engine and a resource. Small business owners are local heroes,” said Jay DesMarteau, Head of Commercial Specialty Segments at TD Bank. “It is commendable that so many business owners find ways to give back when they themselves can often be strapped for time or resources. Developing a mission statement for charitable giving or volunteering should be part of any long-term business plan, however, to ensure any strategy is viable for both the community and the business owner.”
Putting Time & Money Where it Matter
When asked to identify the one or more ways in which they give back to their community, small businesses said they are most likely to donate:
- Goods, like products or food (35 percent)
- Money (29 percent)
- Time to volunteer (29 percent)
- Space for community events (12 percent)
In terms of preferred local causes, charities (30 percent) and youth-focused organizations like schools and sports teams (29 percent) are the most popular among small businesses. Religious organizations (18 percent) and police and fire departments (18 percent) are the next most popular causes supported by survey respondents, followed by arts and culture organizations like theaters and music programs (16 percent) and environmental organizations (14 percent). Perhaps aligning with differing generational values, Gen-Z and millennial SBOs (ages 18-34) give the most money to youth-focused organizations, while their Gen-X and baby boomer (ages 35-65+) counterparts prefer donating to well-established charitable organizations such as the Red Cross.
Personal Touches Make a Difference in the Digital Age
In an increasingly digital world, SBOs still understand the importance of personalizing appreciation. Despite their reputation as digital natives, Gen-Z and millennial SBOs prefer receiving a written “thank you” (28 percent) from their own vendors or service providers more than discounts (26 percent) or gifts (11 percent). In fact, only 10 percent of SBOs said they prefer to be thanked digitally, which is especially surprising during a time when most business communications are conducted online.
When asked how small businesses express appreciation to their own customers, a verbal “thank you” in person or over the phone (23 percent), loyalty discounts (18 percent) or written thank-you notes (17 percent) topped the list. These businesses also view their charitable efforts as a way to thank their communities, with 31 percent stating that giving back shows their gratitude to the community for supporting their business. This was topped only narrowly by cultivating a positive business reputation (32 percent).
"As the Unexpectedly Human bank, TD knows its customers and what's most important to them better than anyone," said Celia Moncholi, Head of Customer Experience at TD Bank. "Much like how small businesses show appreciation to their own customers, TD strives to celebrate all of our customers every day. Sometimes a little extra appreciation is in order, which is why we are dedicating an entire day to appreciating our customers and saying #TDThanksYou."
TD Bank kicked off #TDThanksYou, a month-long celebration of TD customers, beginning with Customer Appreciation Day today. On July 25, customers can expect to see personalized thank you notes and unexpected surprises in TD Stores and across the bank's Maine to Florida footprint. Additionally, the bank is extending a special thanks to its small business clients by recognizing the differences they make in their communities. Please see here for a closer look at the inspiring work being done by a few of these businesses, and the special ways TD Bank thanks them for their impact in our communities.
The study was conducted by Google among a nationally representative group of 502 small business owners from July 14-16, 2019. Included were small businesses of $5 million or less in revenue. To learn more about Google Surveys and their methodology, please see here.
About TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®
TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 9 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,200 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit www.td.com/us. Find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDBank and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US.
TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol "TD". To learn more, visit www.td.com/us.
Martha A. Gaston, APR