Small Business and Charitable Giving

Do the credit crunch and other problems hamper generosity?

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Here's another tidbit related to the idea that small businesses and start-ups can do good while doing well, which I blogged about last week. A recent survey from SurePayroll, an online company that handles payroll issues, suggests that more small businesses want to be contributing to charitable activity but don't think they can afford it:

Although many small business owners indicated that they actively support their communities in at least one way, most said they would do even more if economic conditions were better.

"Small business entrepreneurs are often the ones who have formed businesses and established mission statements out of a need they have observed in their communities," said one business owner. "However, their growth and profitability are typically far less than large corporations, limiting their ability to meet social and community needs and still maintain a profit."

This ran under the headline: "Economy Woes Squeeze Small Business Charity." We don't actually know if the current economy has decreased the amount of giving. Perhaps small businesses would report the same thing in better times (maybe saying that "times could be better" is just an excuse). It's reasonable to think that many small businesses treat charity as something expendable: It's nice to do, but not something that you want to have cut into the meat-and-potatoes, money-making aspects of the business during lean times.

Is that view short-sighted? Should charitable giving be a built-in part of every small business's budget—not just because it's a good thing, but because it can be a good marketing tool?

small business

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