Yiftee Community Cards have served as a tool for the economic development of hundreds of towns and cities. When the pandemic hit, it affected small businesses the most and this had a huge impact on communities in general. “Small businesses play many roles in the US economy: employers, sources of innovation, economic multipliers, community hubs. They constitute more than 99 percent of US businesses and employ 60 million people.” Small businesses are also uniquely vulnerable to the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis”, says global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. By providing a program that benefits both consumers and merchants, Yiftee has transformed the meaning of supporting local economies and has helped communities recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Community Development Program That Works!
Yiftee has helped businesses grow by encouraging communities to launch gift card programs that drive traffic to their merchants exclusively. Once a community becomes a part of this program, merchants can “opt in," and through a quick POS activation, they can start accepting Yiftee gift cards. Community Cards are launched by local governments and organizations such as Chambers of Commerce, Main Streets and BIDs, that are interested in supporting their small businesses, and the economic development of their communities.
ARPA Funds & Small-Town Revitalization Grants
While the Community Card program is free for the organizations launching the program and their participating businesses, some organizers choose to take their gift card program a step further by launching Buy One Get One promotions. How are these promotions funded? Some communities take advantage of the American Rescue Plan Act funds (ARPA) that were provided in 2021, while others use other state funds (for example, the CARES Act) and recruit private sponsors. Buy One Get One promotions yield up to 8X return on investment and drive double the amount of dollars to local businesses, promoting the economic development of these communities.
BOGO Promotions to Promote Shopping Locally - City of Lake Forest
The City of Lake Forest, CA, was able to double their ARPA funds and funnel a whooping $938,000 in redeemed gift cards directly into their local businesses by running two wildly successful Buy One Get One promotions. 97.44% of their participating local businesses have redeemed Lake Forest Shop & Dine Community Cards, generating much needed foot traffic to local businesses.
“It’s just a great benefit for local citizens. It’s only a win for the business, and these are extra guests that are coming in and spending extra money on your business, so I can’t imagine any reason why you wouldn’t want to do that. It’s definitely been great for us, and I would suggest you guys do it as well,” says Matt Panneck, owner of Brü Grill, a participating business in the Lake Forest Shop & Dine Community Card.
Investing in their own Success - City of Upland
The City of Upland, CA, used $250,000 in ARPA funds for a Buy One Get One promotion for their local Discover Upland Community Card in December of 2022. This promotion multiplied their original funds, generating $370,000 for local merchants. The Buy One Get One also led to 1,050 unique shoppers visiting 51 different participating locations to redeem Discover Upland Cards.
Community Cards That Give Back- Riverdale Farmers Market
The Riverdale Farmers Market in Maryland launched a unique Community Card program in 2020 that is still going strong today. In an effort to aid its citizens in recovering from the pandemic, they use American Rescue Plan Act funds to offer $25 gift cards to residents who apply for their “Partners in Economic Recovery Program'. Hundreds of households have benefited from this program, receiving monthly gift cards to use at the local farmers market for groceries.
Community Cards, especially those running Buy One Get One promotions, have assisted hundreds of communities because they create awareness of local businesses, encourage repeat visits, and keep dollars local. The Community Card program is easy to launch and free for organizers and for participating businesses! If you are interested in learning more about how they can support your town/city’s economic development, you can sign up for a demo.
Written by: Alexandra Marquez