Trends in Corporate Giving & Buying Locally: How COVID-19 has impacted community organizations & local businesses

The year 2020 has presented many challenges that have had lasting effects on people across the globe. Due to the spread of COVID-19, many people have been forced to stay home and err on the side of caution when going about their daily lives. This pandemic has not only led to shortages in daily necessities and equipment needed in the medical field, but has also been a major issue for local economies and community organizations.

With many people unable to go to their work sites, the unemployment rate has skyrocketed. Consumers have become extra frugal during the pandemic, causing a host of businesses to see a decline in revenue, leading to more layoffs and the bankruptcy of small businesses.

Amongst all of the negative repercussions, there is one silver lining: corporate charitable giving and “buy local” trends are on the rise.

Corporate giving in the spotlight

According to a study conducted by Cybergiants and the Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals, approximately 72% of corporations sought to increase their donations to charitable foundations, while about 20% of corporations contributed similar amounts to charity as they had in previous years. Around 13% of businesses that increased their contributions to charity saw their total amount donated rise by over 50% in the first quarter, compared to the prior year. This survey accounted for a host of companies ranging from local to global businesses, demonstrating that many corporations have decided to provide more aid to charitable organizations.

There have been multiple ways in which businesses have broadened the scope of their contributions to relief efforts. In the same study, it was found that 43.7% of businesses awarded additional grants to help assist in the completion of goals that are designed to help those affected by COVID-19. Many firms have been working on domestic and global efforts to provide assistance, sending out medical equipment and professionals nationwide as well as overseas.

Some companies have also decided to send money to charity organizations they wish to partner with, while others have set up initiatives that offer support for patients afflicted with COVID or citizens battling economic troubles due to the pandemic.

Another approach to aid that some corporations are pursuing is to fund programs targeted towards assisting young people on becoming successful leaders in the future. As a whole, corporate charitability has been on the rise during the pandemic, which can provide immense help to the large number of people who are currently struggling.

Economic impact of nonprofit organizations

Many people do not take into account how much nonprofit organizations contribute to the economy, yet they actually spur a lot of economic activity on a local and global scale.

Charitable organizations make huge contributions to the labor force, employing around 12.3 million individuals, which is more than some large industries such as transportation or construction, according to data found by the National Council of Nonprofits. This does not take into account the millions of other workers that nonprofits employ indirectly, whether to provide people with services or to undertake tasks that provide people with the goods they desperately need. Nonprofit organizations also consume goods and provide services that foster growth in the economy: $1 trillion dollars a year are usually spent on taking in goods and services by charitable organizations that are given out into society when needed, like food, clothing, or medical equipment.

All these transactions have a positive effect on the economy, contributing to a more stable job market and providing activity needed to positively impact the economy.

Buying locally

Despite limiting how much they spend during arduous times, consumers might also want to put more effort into supporting local businesses. According to the U.S. Small Business Association and the U.S. Department of Labor, for every 100 dollars spent at a local business, 68 of those dollars stay within a community’s economy, which can be two to three times as much money given to the local community than that of a large businesses.

Corporate giving allows for more money to be spent within a community to enhance it and create better opportunities within an area, whether that be in education or in beautifying a community. Supporting businesses in one’s local community also helps the local job market, as millions of Americans are employed locally. Buying from the businesses in one’s community ensures that these people will be able to keep their jobs.

Local businesses are also known to be more environmentally-friendly than large global options. It takes less energy and resources to purchase goods from one’s area than to have things shipped all across the world when it comes to dealing with goods sold by large-scale companies.

Small businesses support our communities

In addition, local companies tend to take a more active role in helping their communities and are known to donate more to nonprofit organizations.

According to data from SCORE, 75% of small businesses contribute about 6% of their profits to charitable organizations. The same study even found that smaller businesses contribute 250% more to local causes than larger businesses, proving that small businesses care about seeing their communities flourish.

Giving locally and supporting local businesses has many benefits to a community, which is why it is important people make a conscious effort to give back on a smaller scale.

Stepping up the challenge

Even with the struggles that 2020 has created, many people and companies are stepping up and offering aid on all scales and areas of need. This is a time where people need to be mindful of the situations of others and do their best to make decisions that could help those around them. Even small, simple gestures can go a long way.

But one thing is for sure: when help is needed, people are willing to step up to the challenge.

Emma Rock, a journalism intern for the Meadowlands Media and the Meadowlands Chamber, is a senior at Bergen County Technical High School, in Teterboro where she majors in Digital Media. Emma can be contacted at

Meadowlands Magazine, the official publication of the Meadowlands Chamber and its affiliate organizations, has proudly served the business community of the Meadowlands region sine 1976. We are among largest business magazine in New Jersey (second by circulation) and offer prime visibility opportunities for businesses to connect with potential customers.