Did you know that shopping at small, locally-owned businesses can have a huge effect on nonprofits? It’s true! Aside from the fact that small businesses keep more money in their local economies, they’re a huge resource for nonprofit organizations in their communities. According to a study by the firm Civil Economics, locally-owned small businesses donated more money on average to their local nonprofits than their larger corporate counterparts.
We see it in our hometown, Lakeland, Florida, on a regular basis. The small businesses in our area are valued partners to our local nonprofits. They donate money, goods, and services to nonprofits; they set out collection bins for food drives; they promote local charitable events; and many small business owners serve as volunteers or board members for numerous nonprofits. Inspired by the beautiful relationship between local shops and nonprofits, we decided to sponsor The Orange Shoelace Project. Local small shops, restaurants, and bars are setting out buckets of our orange shoelaces, which shoppers wear as a reminder to shop locally and to draw attention to the valuable businesses who do so much for our community.
What began as a small project is quickly growing into a movement. If you walk through downtown Lakeland, you’ll see orange shoelaces at every turn. People wear them on their wrists, tied around their ponytails, worn as necklaces, and decorating dogs’ collars. They’re on backpacks, key-chains, and purses. And every person, whether they know it or not, support more than just a local small business owner; they’re helping support the nonprofit organizations that thrive all over our city.