Making it Easier for SMEs to Give Back to Communities

Friday, 10/06/2011

Australian small business owners may be an untapped resource for Australian charities with almost 75 percent of Aussie small business owners wanting to be more involved with their local community.

2011 has been a year of great challenges in Australia with natural disasters including floods, cyclones and bushfires devastating the Australian countryside. At the peak of the Queensland floods in January, some 80 000 volunteers had registered to assist those in need. However the need for skilled volunteers is still great. 

According to the BOQ Straight Talk Survey, a regular nation-wide survey that canvasses the views and experiences of small business owners, while a number of SMEs are donating their time and resources to lend a hand, almost three quarters indicated they want to be more involved.

Almost 50 per cent of businesses, who are active in their communities, sponsor a local charity or sporting team. The question remains what can be done to make the process of charitable giving or volunteering easier for other SMEs who want to give back to their local communities but are struggling with time constraints.

BOQ Chief Operating Officer Ram Kangatharan said small businesses should be encouraged to investigate affordable donation alternatives which suit their time challenges.

“While many small business owners are time poor, there are a number of opportunities and avenues small businesses could investigate in order to play an active role within their communities,” Mr Kangatharan said.

“The recent natural disasters around the country have highlighted a few alternatives for businesses wanting to donate goods and services. For example a gym opened its doors for free to flood workers, not only for a cleansing workout, but also for free showers to wash away the mud.”

The benefits of businesses thinking outside the square when it comes to community donations leads back to the significant amount of marketing goodwill generated by donating facilities or even a day to a particular charity or cause.

“There is a lot that can be done to benefit local communities and the benefits of building goodwill can be financial as well as emotional for small businesses,” said Mr Kangatharan.

“Other avenues for donations could be giving away old business computers or printers which are no longer used or have been upgraded. Donating a day is also very effective way to contribute to the community.”

“The challenge for both corporations and charitable organisations alike is to find a workable solution to help both the community and businesses.”

The Bank of Queensland Straight Talk Survey was sent to hundreds of the Bank’s small business clients across the country. 

Key findings:

• 55% of SMEs are active in the community
• 72.4% of those who aren’t said they would like to be, but don’t have the time
• 47.6% which are active, sponsor a local charity or sporting team
• 59.6% said they do this to build brand awareness
• 60% of those involved do so to give back to the local community