Convenience stores contribute or collect more than $1 billion to charities annually, according to a national survey of retailers released last week by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).
Overall, 95% of convenience stores support charitable causes, with 66% of these stores supporting five or more charitable causes. Nearly all companies support local charities (91%) such as church groups, shelters, food banks and other non-sports groups. And approximately half of all retailers (47%) also support national charities. Also, more than three in four retailers (76%) contribute to youth sports groups and more than two-thirds (69%) contribute to local schools via PTAs and other fundraising activities.
In addition, convenience stores also contribute to local charities during specific times of need. Four in five convenience store companies (75%) say they’ve made donations when there was a specific emergency or crisis in the community.
The median charitable contribution per store is $3,925 in direct contributions and $3,054 in donations collected. Cumulatively, the nearly 155,000 convenience stores in the United States contribute or collect $1.03 billion a year to benefit charitable groups.
“We often say in our industry that ‘c-store’ doesn’t just stand for convenience store; it stands for community store and these results clearly demonstrate the commitment our industry has to the communities they serve,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives.
Convenience retailers noted that their locations in communities also make them convenient places for groups to hold events: 61% allow their property to be used by local groups for fundraising events, whether car washes, cookie sales or direct fundraising.
More than three in four (76%) retailers also say they make local product/food donations to food banks and other groups to support those in need; of this group, 67% donate food and 76% donate beverages.
“Being a small, local chain, we like to keep our charitable giving to local organizations, where our customers know the people it is benefiting and can see their donations at work,” said Dennis McCartney with Landhope Farms (Kennett Square, PA).
A total of 90 NACS retail member companies participated in the association’s Q4 2018 Retailer Sentiment Survey that featured questions about charitable giving.
NACS advances the role of convenience stores as positive economic, social and philanthropic contributors to the communities they serve. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 154,000 stores nationwide selling fuel, food and merchandise, serves 165 million customers daily—half of the U.S. population—and has sales that are 10.8% of total U.S. retail and foodservice sales. NACS has 2,100 retailer and 1,750 supplier member companies from more than 50 countries.