Businesses Supporting Communities Analysis

Responsibility, the best ways to support communities, and customers’ priorities

Cameron Crow
May 15, 2019 · 10 min read

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You can read below, or have me walk you through it with this video.

Cam’s Main Takeaways

Table of Contents

  • How Analysis Posts Work
  • Businesses Supporting Communities Survey
  • Sample Demographics
  • Responsibility of businesses?
  • How much do businesses support your local community?
  • Best ways businesses can support communities?
  • What’s most important to you?
  • Would you do these things?
  • What makes you want to be a “regular”?
  • Which businesses come to mind?
  • Don’t buy it? Make it better.

How Analysis Posts Work

In our analysis, we take a deeper look at our survey results and highlight the patterns and insights we see under the surface using segmentation across meaningful demographics (like age, gender, and location). These are the things we think are interesting, and we make them public so everyone can learn.

But the views and insights you find here aren’t the only ones available! You may see a chart or interpretation and realize you’re dying to see a different angle — one that might be more helpful for your purposes. Cool! We can help you with custom views or services. Send us an email!

Businesses Supporting Communities Survey

We interact with businesses almost every day, and that makes them a huge part of our society. Where and how we spend our hard-earned money can say a lot about our values, and we wanted to know how you think about businesses supporting local communities.

Here are our survey questions and results, and below’s what I found most interesting.

Sample demographics

Whenever you look at survey results or findings, it’s a good idea to check the demographics of the respondents — that can have a lot to do with whether the results are likely to reflect a broad population, or just a niche group. This survey was distributed to our subscribers via email, through Facebook via targeted ads, and was shared by subscribers and Meriwether Cider as well.

Here’s my commentary on this chart.

Our 261 responses came from more women than men, a pretty even age distribution, and primarily from Ada county (~75%), though most Idaho counties were represented.

(One other thing to keep in mind — this is an opt-in survey, which means respondents decided whether or not they wanted to participate. I expect participants are more interested in this topic than others, so our results may not represent the views of an “average” Idahoan.)

Responsibility of businesses?

First off, some big picture context. I wanted to know if respondents agree with the premise of this survey — businesses should support local communities. In particular, whether it’s their responsibility. That’s a heavy word that invokes commitment.

Here’s my commentary on this chart.

Overall, yes. About 80% of our respondents answered “Yes” or “Yes, absolutely.” Less than 10% answered in the negative.

Great. But let’s see if we can identify any patterns below the surface of this question. Do certain types of respondents answer differently than others? Let’s start by breaking things down by age.

Here’s my commentary on this chart.

Green denotes that respondents think that supporting local communities IS businesses’ responsibility, and orange or red denotes that it ISN’T. Looks pretty even across all the age groupings here. If anything, maybe respondents in their 20s say “Yes, absolutely” a bit less, and people in their 60s say it a bit more.

What’s another slice that might show an interesting pattern? I checked about 6 things before I found what looks to be the best one — whether or not you’re willing to pay more to buy from companies that support your communities.

Here’s my commentary on this chart.

This shows us a nice pattern. You can see the proportion of Green (IS businesses’ responsibility) decreasing as you move across the answers to whether you’d pay more, from left to right.

This willingness to pay extra seems to be connected to how strongly they feel businesses should support local communities.

Would you do these things?

Since we found an interesting pattern in answers based on willingness to pay more, let’s skip ahead in the survey to that question, for clarity’s sake. The question asked whether people would do the following things for supportive businesses — tell people, go out of their way, and pay more.

Here’s my commentary on this chart.

Overall, almost everyone (95%) was willing to tell their family and friends about these businesses, but less would go out of their way to buy from them (80%), and less still would pay extra (65%).

Let’s take a look at age again, across these three things, to see if anything interesting pops out at us.

One thing I’m seeing here is that respondents in their 20s appear generally less willing to help businesses that support local communities than the other age groups. And particularly when it comes to paying more. That’s not that surprising when you consider that they’re getting started in their careers, maybe going to college, and don’t have a lot of extra money or time.

Here’s my commentary on this chart.

Also, one angle that was somewhat interesting was gender. It appears that men are relatively less willing to help these businesses than women. (That fits my anecdotal evidence and previous survey analysis — women typically care more…)

How much do businesses support your local community?

Ok, now let’s make it personal — how much do businesses help your local community, wherever you live in Idaho?

Here’s my commentary on this chart.

Overall, people felt that businesses support their local communities quite a bit. About 60% said “A lot” or “A great deal.” Only 5% said “A little”, and not a single respondent answered “Not at all.” This is good to see! People seem appreciative.

Now, do people answer this question differently based on their willingness to pay more?

Here’s my commentary on this chart.

Nope. These answers look virtually the same, across the board, with the exception of the “No definitely not” group (there are only 5, so we shouldn’t read much into this.)

But that probably wasn’t the best way to analyze this data, since we would expect to see differences in different communities, right? Let’s try a map!

The darker green a county is, the high percent of respondents reported “A lot” or “A great deal” of support for their local community by businesses. The number shown is the number of responses per county. (Here’s my commentary on this chart.)

This map shows the percentage of “high support” for each county, and that’s measured by the proportion of people that said that businesses help their local communities “A great deal” or “A lot”. It also shows a number indicating how many responses we received from that county.

At a glance, most of the yellow counties (showing low community support) have only 1 response collected. However, Madison county had 4, and still has a low rate, so that’s the one I’d be most likely to believe has lower community support from businesses.

Best ways businesses can support communities?

Now let’s get into some details. How can businesses best support communities?

Here’s my commentary on this chart.

Overall, there was a clear favorite on our ranking question — “Provide good jobs”. Then there was basically a tie between “Make everyone welcome” and “Promote positive values.” The least popular ways to support communities were “Host community events” and “Donate to charities.”

Pretty interesting. I’m not sure I would have expected this result, but it makes sense to me — having a good job (decent pay and benefits) is probably more life changing for people than the other things listed here.

Now let’s see if there are any differences in preferences by age.

Here’s my commentary on this chart.

Not a lot of differences. The average rankings within each age group look relatively uniform.

There are two standouts to me though. First, it looks like the oldest group (70+) has a higher appreciation for “Promoting positive values” than the other groups. Also, it seems like the respondents in their 20s care a lot more about being “sustainable.” These two themes match my general perceptions of generational differences in these areas.

And can willingness to pay tell us anything interesting?

Here’s my commentary on this chart.

Yes, it appears so. The people that are least likely to pay extra to help businesses that support communities are much more interested in jobs and less in sustainability. Republicans? (Unfortunately, I didn’t ask about political views…) We have to remember that this is a small group though… so let’s not get too carried away with interpretations.

What’s most important to you?

How about people’s own priorities when deciding where to spend their money? What’s most important to them?

Here’s my commentary on this chart.

There’s a clear winner here as well — “Quality”. The next biggest factors were “Being local” and “Price.”

And perhaps most relevant to this discussion was the ranking of “Community support.” It was the second-lowest priority, and I think that puts this survey in perspective — people like businesses supporting their communities, but probably they won’t give you their money because of that. You’ll need to win their business with quality and price, which we can probably equate to “value.”

Can age tell us anything interesting?

Here’s my commentary on this chart.

Yes, it turns out. There appears to be a mostly linear relationship between age and appreciation for a business being local — as you get older you care about that more. Similarly, price sensitivity is mostly linear too, but in the opposite direction. Price matters most to you when you’re young and less as you get older.

This makes sense to me since people generally have more stable finances later in their lives. Perhaps they can more easily “afford” to care about buying local and supporting communities when they have more money to throw around. (Now, I’m wishing I asked about annual income. Perhaps that’d be the key to testing this assumption.)

And what about our willingness to pay groups?

Here’s my commentary on this chart.

There’s a huge divergence in rankings on the “Price” factor, and that makes total sense! It’s nice to see people answering consistently, as we’d expect them too. 😊

I was also interested in our group of “No, definitely not” paying more people. They cared a lot less about values and supporting communities than they did about price and hospitality. I’d say this combination of preferences is more self-oriented than social-oriented.

What makes you want to be a “regular”?

Our last two questions were open fields, and the first one asked what makes you want to become a regular customer of a business. Below are two different visualizations of word frequency.

And the top words or phrases largely match the items we had in our ranking question. Not a whole lot of standouts to me from these views.

Here’s my commentary on this.

But, if you want to see some specifics, don’t forget to check out the overall results to see the actual comments people made!

Which businesses come to mind?

And lastly, I asked respondents to mention the businesses that they think of on this topic of businesses supporting communities.

Albertsons was #1 and Meriwether Cider was #2. Albertsons has a big advantage in that they’re a huge company with many locations across the state — they’re in lots of local communities. And it makes sense to me that Meriwether Cider stands out in these results despite being a small operation, because they’re the ones that suggested I do this survey! They wanted to understand the answers so they can do more, and they shared it with their email list. They’re cool.

Here’s my commentary on this.

And same thing goes with this question — if you want to read which companies were named, you can read through people’s comments here.

That’s all folks! If you want more analysis goodness, check out our other posts here.

Don’t buy it? Make it better.

Make Idaho Better is working to figure out what people really think. If you ever read our stuff and don’t believe the results, you could be right — maybe we aren’t hearing from enough people with different views.

If that’s what you think, help us get closer by joining and weighing in yourself, and ask your friends and family to do it too. The more people participate, the better the results will be. #DoYourPart

Source: Giphy
Cover photo image

Make Idaho Better

Using surveys, public results and analysis, and stories to make Idaho voices heard and make a difference. Helping leaders find better solutions with innovative and affordable community engagement and market research.

Cameron Crow

Written by

Make Idaho Better

Using surveys, public results and analysis, and stories to make Idaho voices heard and make a difference. Helping leaders find better solutions with innovative and affordable community engagement and market research.

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