Owning a business is both a right and a privilege. It is also a risk and a challenge, bringing many potential liabilities and stressors into entrepreneur’s lives, yet it is also highly rewarding and fun when done right. Business ownership also brings with it tremendous responsibilities – providing for our own families, the families of our team, supporting our clients/patients and contributing to our communities.
This last idea, that we are responsible to our communities, is often overlooked. I’m a huge believer in giving back to the communities that I work in, because these are the communities that support me. I can only grow and succeed with the support of my community, so it only makes sense that I contribute back. When our cities, towns, and neighborhoods thrive, so do we. Our clients and patients live in communities, as do our team members and suppliers. We don’t often realize the extent that the social infrastructure impacts us, and how much we can do to create an impact right back.
So how can you give back? There are two common themes for giving back – time and treasure. You can give some of your time, or your team’s time to activities in your community, or you can donate some of your treasure – money, good, and services. Or even better, you can do both.
Let’s look at some ways you can give your time:
- Donate your time to a favorite cause
- Donate your time to a cause in need – ask your church or chamber of commerce for a list
- Plant a tree
- Clean a section of roadway
- Provide pro-bono services
- Volunteer at your kid’s school
- Be a Coach
- Organize a drive – for books, food, clothing
- Be an election volunteer
- Be a Mentor
- Big Brother/Big Sister
Now some ways to donate your treasure:
- Community Food kitchens/pantries
- Animal Shelters
- Veterans Organizations
- Any charity that supports one of your passions – there are no shortages of needs
One of the keys is to remember that donating your time is often just as valuable, if not more valuable than your financial support. Organizations need human capital to deliver the services they provide, so offer both when you can.
My company has supported many organizations over the years, particularly USA Cares for veterans, and Blessings in a Backpack for local school aged children in need. We have donated calculators to high schools, and mentoring to aspiring young entrepreneurs. Team members sit on the boards of 3 charities, and we are always looking for ways to support the communities we live and work in, as we won’t grow and thrive if they don’t.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
Author: Mark Mcnulty, Business Coach in Louisville, KY