New Small Business Civic Engagement & Social Impact Report Released

June 9, 2023

Thanks to the generosity of Fiserv, Points of Light is excited to share its new research report, “Leading Locally: Small Business and Social Change.” Building on Points of Light’s body of civic engagement research, this new report explores the expectations, perceptions and ways in which small businesses are taking action to support social issues and their communities.

“Small business owners are an untapped resource to drive social impact and can be the key to unlocking deeper relationships in communities,” said Diane Quest, interim president & CEO, Points of Light. “While 41% of owners said they were not sure what their small business could do to help, their knowledge of the community, connections and creativity can make a deep impact locally. We hope this research brings awareness to the critical role small businesses can play in partnering with local nonprofits to create thriving and participatory societies.”


  1. The general public has high expectations of how small businesses get involved in social issues, but small business owners consistently expect even more of themselves than the general public. For instance, half the public and two-thirds of small business owners ranked speaking out as pretty important or essential.
  2. Rather than fear of customer backlash, small business owners who are not particularly involved in social issues avoid them because they do not know how to get involved or are unsure how they can make a difference. In fact, nearly half of small business owners responding to the survey felt this way.
  3.  In spite of this, small businesses are positioned to have a unique influence on their communities and their customers – especially through opportunities to donate when customers make a purchase. Our research found that almost 75% of the public will make donations at the point of sale.
  4. Regardless of their involvement in social issues, the general public consider small businesses valuable. Nearly two-thirds of respondents purchased from a small business within the last month.

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