Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday—our society packs a lot of money-focused days into less than one week every year. As consumers, most of us might appreciate the savings that Black Friday and Cyber Monday can deliver for our pocketbooks and possibly, make the holidays a bit brighter for some families. As residents of small communities, we should definitely make an effort to support the concept behind the other two-Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday-not just on the official dates created by marketers but year-round.
Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy. More of them and a greater variety make our communities a more attractive place to live too. You’ve probably heard the statistic or seen the meme on social media about the impact of spending money at a locally-owned business versus a big box store. According to a retail study conducted in Grand Rapids, MI about a decade ago, for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 of that money stays within the local economy, compared to $43 for large corporations.
The Small Business Administration estimates that last year consumers spent nearly $18 billion at independent neighborhood retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday-evidence that making a concerted effort to shop local can have a significant impact.
Studies also show that small businesses donate 250 percent more to non-profits and community causes than larger businesses.
The concept of “give where you live” produces many of the same benefits as shopping locally. Giving of your time or money to causes that you hold dear is an ideal way to connect with your neighbors and ensure that this remains a vibrant place to call home. Certainly there are organizations that do really important work all over the globe and deserve our support too but giving locally, especially during the holiday season, can force us to take a slight break from our gift lists to consider the value of our time and how we might continue to serve and give in our own backyards in the coming new year.
So please consider how you can tackle your gift list this Christmas and, at the same time, support local businesses and causes. Why not make a scholarship fund donation in a family member’s name and then fill their stocking with something nice from a local business or artisan? It’s a win-win for us all.