Just how powerful is the gay dollar? According to a newly published analysis by Witeck-Combs Communications and Packaged Facts, the total buying power of American GLBT adults in 2008 is projected to be $712 billion, up from $690 billion in 2007. Witeck-Combs Communications defines buying power as disposable personal income. Further, Witeck-Combs Communications stated that 58% of GLBT adults are more likely to purchase products and services from companies that market directly to them.
We have amazing buying power. We can throw it away, or we can harness it and effect change.
Do the companies you buy from support diversity in the workplace? Do they make political contributions to candidates that oppose marriage equality? Do they extend partner benefits to all their employees? If these issues are important to you, then spend wisely.
LGBT owned independent businesses return a percentage of each dollar you spend back to our community. For example, bear businesses put that dollar back into the community through bear runs, bear media, and contributions to local non-profit organizations and political organizations.
By supporting these businesses, you insure that they – along with the diversity they provide – don’t disappear.
But I can get it cheaper somewhere else – It’s time to consider the real costs to our community when we lose our LGBT business base. Independent LGBT businesses employ members of the community, who in turn shop in our community.
They also retain the services of LGBT service providers. They hire gay architects, lesbian graphic designers, and bear-owned contractors for construction. The multiplier effect creates opportunities for LGBT accountants, insurance brokers, computer consultants, attorneys, and advertising agencies.
Ensuring Choice and Diversity – A local LGBT shop may have a smaller selection than a big chain outlet. But remember, it sources products for its target audience, thus creating a demand for specialized merchandise. This makes accessible controversial products or services from new vendors with the expectation that there will be a market somewhere within a variety of stores.
Our freedom of choice is imperiled when we grant a limited amount of corporate buyers the power to choose what reaches consumers. This may be only mildly disturbing for most consumer goods, but truly frightening when you consider the impact on our choice of news sources, books, music and other modes of expression for the LGBT community.
Investing in Our Community – LGBT business owners invest much of their life savings in their businesses. They have a natural interest in the long-term health of the community. Community-based businesses are essential to charitable endeavors, frequently serving on local boards, and supporting a variety of causes important to our community.
LGBT business leaders understand the challenges faced by community members. They have walked in their shoes. With a passionate commitment to diversity, they advocate to ensure all of their customers get treated with respect and dignity.
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE WITH A FEW SIMPLE STEPS
Make a decision to find and patronize LGBT-owned business, whenever possible.
Support Gay Businesses –
- Dine at a local, independent LGBT-owned restaurant and treat yourself to a unique and personal dining experience.
- When you shop online, look for LGBT businesses.
- Use the Member Directory or Search Box of your local LGBT Chamber of Commerce to find businesses offering goods or services to our community.
Tell your associates, family, and friends to support these businesses, as well.