Local Community Gift Card Program Shows up to 8X ROI on Federal Funds Invested to Help Small Businesses in Pandemic Recovery

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- As communities strive to help their local businesses weather the pandemic storm, Yiftee has grown to more than 270 Community eGift Cards across the United States and executed 74 "Buy-One-Get-One" programs. These programs enlist entire communities in purchasing eGift Cards that can only be spent at local businesses, where the card buyers also receive free bonus gifts for their own use.

Yiftee and Whatcom County, WA teamed up to measure the revenue impact of their program for small businesses in Whatcom County. Between money spent on community card purchases, bonus cards funded by the CARES Act, and overspend on the gift cards and bonus cards, the analysis found that the bonus program investment was returned by 2X in its first month, 4X after 3 months and could return up to 8X over the next year when the majority of the purchased cards have been redeemed.

Data shows more than 30% is typically spent over the card value

Derek Long, Executive Director of Sustainable Connections in Bellingham, WA, who worked with Whatcom County government to fund the bonus cards and marketing to support it said, "The card buyer survey showed that on average, people spend 34% more than the purchased cards and 31% more than the bonus cards. We returned 2X our bonus card investment in the first month, and now we are at 4X with potential to double that as more cards are redeemed over the next year or so."

Sandy Ward, President and CEO of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism added, "The Whatcom County community has really rallied to help our small businesses and we are thrilled with the results. The bonus funds sold out quickly in December, and people have continued to purchase the Whatcom County Think Local First cards, with thousands more purchased after the bonus ran out."

Besides the CARES Act in Q4 2020, Yiftee is seeing funds for similar programs coming from corporate sponsors, tourism offices, city and county governments, and most recently federal funds from the American Recovery Plan all helping small businesses come back.

More than half of card holders tried out new shops or restaurants

Yiftee and Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism jointly sponsored the survey and were pleased that the extensive card buyer survey, conducted by the Claremont Consulting Group Inc.*, also found that 51% of card buyers tried new shops or restaurants with their Community eGift Cards, and cardholders liked being able to use them at multiple places around town. The bonus program drew attention to the new Whatcom County program, launched in November 2020, with 50% of people saying they would be significantly more likely to purchase a $50 card if they got a $10 bonus.

"Shopping local has always been popular but now it's essential, and Community Cards are a simple way for consumers, companies and local governments to keep their local dollars local," said Donna Novitsky, Yiftee CEO and co-founder. An incredible 92% of card buyers surveyed said they prefer to support their local business with a Community Card vs buying national brand gift cards.

Ann Marie Cooper, Owner of Good Earth Pottery in Bellingham, WA commented, "The gift card program definitely brought extra/new traffic to our shop. Several customers told me so. I know some local folks sent these gift cards to friends and family out of town, to bring their business to us/Whatcom County. The incentive program (bonus spending money) was big motivation for people to purchase the Think Local First Gift Cards... I am very thankful for the program."

About Yiftee, Keep Local Dollars Local

Yiftee serves more than 270 communities and 10,000 local businesses with simple, secure, PoS-independent eGift Cards that keep local dollars local - more than $13M in pandemic year 2020. The company works with Chambers of Commerce, Downtowns, Main Streets, Business Improvement Districts, city governments and other local organizations to create "Community Cards," branded for the community and redeemable at 10s to 100s of local businesses. Organizations and individuals purchase them online and send them via email, text or print to friends, family and co-workers to support their local businesses.

There is no cost to the organizers or merchants for the program and it can be set up in just a few days. Yiftee also provides custom-branded cards for individual merchants, franchises, and chains.

More info at https://yiftee.com/, email: sales@yiftee.com, Twitter: @Yiftee, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yiftee/.

(Note: * Claremont Consulting Group Inc. study included 197 survey responses for purchases made November 2020-March 2021.)

IMAGE LINK FOR MEDIA: https://www.Send2Press.com/300dpi/21-0511s2p-yifteecard-300dpi.jpg

CAPTION: The Whatcom County, WA Think Local First gift card promotion held in Nov/Dec 2020 multiplied federal government funds with consumer purchases that exclusively support local shops and restaurants in the area as they come back from closures due to COVID.

Related link: https://yiftee.com/

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