Auto dealers continue to increase their level of giving to charitable causes, according to new survey data from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and Ally Financial.

More than 70 percent of new-car dealers surveyed in September said they increased their charitable giving in 2014, up from 65 percent last year. About 43 percent of dealers said they expect to increase their contributions again in 2015, up from 39 percent in 2013.

The bulk of this giving is staying in dealer’s local communities, as nearly 90 percent of dealers said their contributions go to supporting community service and local organizations. More than 65 percent of dealers surveyed said they organize staff volunteerism opportunities in their community.

“Franchised new-car dealers are among the largest supporters of community-based programs and charitable organizations in most towns across the country,” said NADA President Peter Welch. “New-car dealers support their local communities in many ways—from creating well-paying jobs, generating significant revenue in taxes to providing other economic benefits. It’s difficult to keep track of the level of charitable involvement because so many dealers do not seek publicity or recognition.”

“Dealers see the value of giving back in a variety of ways – from their businesses, to their communities and beyond,” said Tim Russi, president of Auto Finance for Ally. “Auto dealers are leaders in their communities, and their giving often inspires others to make a difference as well, which pays dividends for all.”

The survey results were part of NADA and Ally’s annual Dealer Charitable Survey for 2014. Results also showed:

  • Nearly 50 percent of dealers gave more than $25,000 to nonprofit organizations and charitable causes in 2013, with 13 percent giving in excess of $100,000.
  • Dealers surveyed donated or lent out approximately $4.5 million worth of vehicles for charitable causes.

More than 97 percent of dealers surveyed said that engaging in community outreach or giving back efforts enhances a dealership’s reputation. Nearly 90 percent agreed or strongly agreed that supporting nonprofit organizations has helped to promote and drive awareness of their business within their local community.

About 19% of U.S. adults will be shopping for a new car or truck this year. According to AudienceSCAN, this audience skews male (57.2%). 28.7% of these consumers strongly agree that they will shop at a different store to support an important cause/charity while 53.8% agree. In addition, 29.8% of new car/truck buyers strongly agree that they will support marketers that sponsor a favorite sports team or athlete. This is much higher than average. Auto dealers should take note of these data points. In the past year, 53% of new car/truck buyers took action as a result of an ad they’d seen in a local theater. This format might be the perfect place for dealers to tout their support of local charitable organizations.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.