The downturn in the economy is forcing many small businesses to cut back on charitable donations, a new survey shows.

Based on a survey of small businesses by Chicago payroll firm SurePayroll, many owners are limiting community contributions as a cost cutting measure. At the same time, nearly all said they would give more if business conditions improved. More than half of the small businesses polled said charitable donations to social causes and community groups were included in their company's mission statement.

Six out of 10 respondents said charity contributes to their company's bottom line by increasing customer loyalty and attracting quality employees.

According to SurePayroll President Michael Alter, smaller firms are more susceptible to rising costs and declining income. Shrinking profit margins might restrict the ability of small businesses to give back to their communities, but not their willingness, he added.

“It's important for business owners to remember the business benefit," Alter said in a statement. "Because they usually interact directly with community members on a daily basis, an active role can work wonders for strengthening relationships and building trust with clients."