Charitable Giving by C-stores Tops $1 Billion Annually

community service

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Convenience stores contribute or collect more than $1 billion to charities annually, according to a national survey from NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing.

Overall, 95 percent of convenience stores support charitable causes, with 66 percent of these stores supporting five or more charitable causes. Nearly all companies support local charities (91 percent) such as church groups, shelters, food banks and other non-sports groups, and 47 percent support national charities.

Among other findings of the survey include:

  • More than three in four retailers (76 percent) contribute to youth sports groups.
  • More than two-thirds (69 percent) contribute to local schools via PTAs and other fundraising activities.
  • C-stores contribute to local charities during specific times of need. Three in four c-store companies (75 percent) 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.

NACS charitable giving

Convenience retailers noted that their locations in communities also make them convenient places for groups to hold events: 61 percent 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 percent) retailers also say they make local product/food donations to food banks and other groups to support those in need; of this group, 67 percent donate food and 76 percent 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 of 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.

Alexandria-based NACS represents 154,000 c-stores nationwide, which serve 165 million customers daily and half of the U.S. population, with sales that are 10.8 percent of total U.S. retail and foodservice sales. NACS has 2,100 retailer and 1,750 supplier member companies from more than 50 countries.