Small and medium sized businesses in the UK are missing a trick when it comes to supporting their local community, according to a new report released today by Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI).
Results reveal that almost half (47%) of SMEs do not support their local community in any way, whether that’s donating their time or money to a worthy cause, sponsoring a sports team, helping out a local school or any other community-minded initiatives.
That’s despite the fact that most recognise that community relations increases staff morale (65%) and makes their business more attractive to potential customers (70%) and employees (58%). And more importantly, two thirds of Brits would be more inclined to buy from a local business if they were involved in more community projects and good causes.
The RIBI ‘Community Matters’ report, which surveyed more than 500 senior managers in small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and 1,700 members of the general public, also found that companies are failing to understand the business opportunities that local community engagement can present. More than a third (35%) think ‘giving back’ is the main benefit, with just one in ten (11%) spotting the opportunity for business development.
More than half (59%) of consumers more likely to buy from a local business that supports local organisations, businesses have a real opportunity to benefit from their community support.
While almost half (47%) of SMEs do not support the community in any way, 52% of respondents think their company could do more, citing lack of money and time as the main barriers (64% and 42% respectively).
The research also showed that the public believes businesses should be responsible for filling funding gaps left by the government and other third parties post-recession. The business response post-recession has been positive, with almost a fifth (17%) increasing their community support and just 10% making cuts.
Listen to this Podcast below with the Rotary International President about these issues!