by Phil Latz
Hi, welcome to the tenth blog in my personal growth series that I hope will help you become more successful in your business.
As a business owner myself for many years, I understand the challenges that you face.
Today I’ll be talking about giving back.
Have you ever noticed that if you’re a business owner, you’re automatically assumed to be wealthy? You’re bombarded with requests from all sorts of worthy causes!
Before you get stressed about this, just ask yourself, why did you get into business in the first place?
No doubt you wanted to make a good living, provide for your family, do something worthwhile and so on. But chances are that somewhere in your list of reasons there was something about helping others, whether they be members of your local community or a certain cause that you’re interested in.
It’s always hard when you get asked to give, but money is tight, so you really feel like you’ve been put in a bind.
In this blog I’d like to suggest some strategies to lower your stress in this area, and hopefully leave you feeling better about yourself and what you can do.
Firstly, I suggest that you give it intentionally. By that, I mean that you decide proactively, in advance, how much you’d like to give for the year. Then decide how you would like to direct that giving.
You might want to leave this second part open so that you can respond to requests, or you might already know exactly who you’d like to support.
This way, once you’ve spent your giving budget, you can say ‘no’ with a much clearer conscience and give the donation seeker a clear reason why you’re not going to donate.
Fortunately, you don’t always have to give money.
What’s in your hand?
You might have time or resources that don’t cost you much, but that can be a great help to others.
For example, I was a member of my local business chamber of commerce for a number of years and we wanted to run a community street fair and concert, to help build community ties and morale in this fairly run down area.
We were running this event on a shoestring and needed a stage for the concert, which was going to be at the main intersection in town, with the streets closed to traffic for the day.
We couldn’t afford to hire a proper concert stage, but a local trucking business lent us a full-sized flatbed trailer instead.
The trailer was just going to be sitting in their depot for the weekend, so it cost them nothing other than a short drive to deliver it and pick it up.
Their signage was on the trailer too, so it was a classic win-win situation
From my experience, you can’t beat the satisfaction of giving wisely to a worthwhile cause.
You get more than you give.
Many years ago my wife and I founded an annual long-distance cycling fundraising event on behalf of an organisation that we wanted to support.
This was quite an ambitious project which definitely strained our business resources at the time. But the event was an immediate fundraising success and helped the organisation to get back on its feet.
Once they were better established, we handed over ownership of the event and stepped back into a supporting sponsor role. They’ve run this event every year since and after 20 years it has raised millions of dollars.
Looking at the event over the total timespan, 99% of the work and dollars have come from other people. We were just the catalyst to get things started.
Even though others have now taken over full responsibility, we still get the satisfaction of seeing positive results every year. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.
So don’t ever feel guilty when people ask you for support. Be proactive, work out what your priorities are and give intentionally based upon them. I’ve yet to hear someone tell me they’ve regretted giving when they follow these steps.
I believe that with passion, consistent effort and wise advice you can succeed in your business.
I wish you all the best and I’ll see you next time.