Small Business Saturday Blog

Can Giving Really Be Good for a Small Business? Spoiler: Yes!

Wednesday, May 02, 2018 at 10:08

Reputation is everything when it comes to making a businesswork, and nobody knows that better than a small business.  If yourcustomer sees you in a good light, then you are halfway there.  Largercorporations are moving rapidly down the ‘purpose-driven’ route, and usingCorporate Social Responsibility as a marketing tool to attract and retain customerswho want to spend with brands that align with their own values. Businesses with a clear ‘Brand Purpose’, those seen as making livesbetter, grew three times faster in value on average over the past 12 years.Many smaller businesses do want to give to back to society and make adifference, but it’s not always easy without designated CSR resource. Everydaypressures take over. And when time and money are tight, good intentions canfall by the wayside.
But what if all sizes of businesses could give to charity in a waythat’s good for their business too?
We wanted to find out directly from the very businesses andcharities themselves why charitable giving seemed to be the preserve of thelarge enterprise, so we surveyed people from both businesses and charities tosee where the disconnect was.
Firstly, one in four businesses surveyed have yet to give, witha failure to see the benefits being a significant factor in their decision.
Increasing your bottom line, elevating customer perception andretaining and attracting staff are just a few of the fundamental aims allcompanies have, and have many tactics to achieve, but charitable giving may notbe considered as one of those tactics or credited with helping to drive any ofthose success measures.  Yet out of the businesses who do giveregularly to charities, two thirds saw noticeable positive impacts on theirprofitability, and the more they give, the more benefits they report. Thosethat donate over 0.5% of turnover were twice as likely to report enhancementsin company reputation and nearly 50% more likely to see it help recruit andretain staff.  
For most, giving doesn’t seem to be all that regular. Aside fromthe occasional charity bake-sale or ad-hoc donations, giving is often not partof company strategy, especially in small to medium business where margins canbe tight and overheads prohibitive. However, it doesn’t require big bucks tomake a difference.  Alone, small business may feel just that….small.Yet small businesses make up 99% of the 5.7million businesses in the UKand have huge potential to be a force for good, and enabling every businessto donate in manageable increments when revenue allows could lead to a ‘give togrow’ movement that could really change things.
So we can see the benefits to business giving, but what are theother barriers? With only 2% of charities’ income coming from the businesssector, something is amiss. Well for starters; regular giving is a pain. 
For a business to donate off the back of their sales, there must be aCommercial Participation Agreement (CPA) in place which involves negotiations,admin and legal issues. This can actually result in charities turning downdonations under a certain threshold, because it’s just not viable for theamount of time spent (average of ten hours to secure one donation from an SME)and businesses have enough on their plate without philanthropic effortsactually costing them time and therefore money. What a waste. Charities loseout on vital funding and businesses lose out on long term benefits of valuablePR, reputation building and profits.
So out of this, we created another small business to add to theUK’s 5.7 million in order to solve the problem.  The Work for Good platformwas created to make giving easy, flexible and beneficial to SMEs and thecharities they choose to support.
BTE Automotive isa family run garage service business based in Hampshire. Started by husband andwife team Jan and David Parker 27 years ago, day-to-day operations are now runby their son Barry. BTE Automotive have recently signed up with Work forGood and are building giving into their business in a serious way.
Barry comments, “As a family run business, our values are at theheart of what we do.  As well as offering our customers the best possibleservice, we also want to give back to the community we serve and the causesclose to our heart. By donating a £1 for each MOT undertaken this year, we’llraise more than £3500. And that’s just the start. We’re looking at givingthrough product sales and ways to get customers involved in choosing whichcharities we support. It’s a great way to develop trust and developrelationships.
Work for Good makes it easy for us to build giving into ourbusiness.  They connect with the charity and take out the legal and adminhassle. We can focus more time on doing what we do best – serving ourcustomers, supporting our team and growing our business."
Download our full survey results and learn how your business cando well by doing good, at
If you’d like to hearmore visit 
The SmallBusiness Saturday community can receive a 50% discount to first yearmembership using code:  DOGOOD18.


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