I realize running a successful business means your plate is piled-high with daily priorities but there’s one often-overlooked business act that can fulfill, enrich and reward you if you make time for it: philanthropy. Giving back to your community can serve your business goals while taking care of the world around you. When you give to others, you’ll find you’re actually taking care of yourself—and your business.
Everyone! According to the nonprofit database, GuideStar, there are more than 2,000 organizations that need support in Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties alone. From incredible organizations I’ve come to know, like Social Advocates for Youth (SAY), the Safe and Sober Project and Giant Steps Therapeutic Riding Center, you‘ll definitely be able to find one with goals that match your passions and talents.
If you take a moment to give it some serious thought, your choice will naturally come from a very real place in your own heart and head. Think: What ideals are most important to you, your team and your community? What really resonates with you, your team or your client base?
Once you’ve picked who to help, it’s time to get your employees on-board. I’ve seen it time and time again, when people have an opportunity to participate in community outreach—be it a health run, CPR classes, bowling for kids or soup kitchens—something uniquely positive starts to happen: more smiles, a sense of comradery and unity, renewed dedication and a feeling of fulfillment and confidence in your company as a whole.
Volunteering is deeply fulfilling. It offers a profound sense of pride and achievement. Some employees will make new, lifelong friends, and some will learn a new skill or even broaden their perspective and mission for life, all while getting to know the people and community around them. What a thrill it is, as a business owner, to provide these opportunities. You’re introducing your team to new passions while providing a forum for them to give back. You’ll be amazed at how the team develops better relationships, communication skills and bonds that support a culture of giving and comradery within your company and beyond.
You don’t need to be a Rockefeller to make a meaningful impact. It’s no secret that nonprofits can always use financial help, but that’s not where their needs end. If a nonprofit has cash but not a team to help it fulfill its mission, the vision will never come to life. No nonprofit can function without the valuable donation of time and talent.
Nonprofits need volunteers to plan, coordinate, run and speak at events—employ personal and business skills (and whatever else it takes) to help things move forward. The great part is that, whatever your skillset, you have the ability to make a difference.
Serving others affects more than just the recipients of your time and money. It impacts your business. Volunteering can breathe new life into you and your team that you can then return to your business. Giving back will wake a business up; it stirs people’s creativity and inspiration, creates energy in the work environment and can take businesses to a new level of success.
While you don’t need to boast shamelessly about what you do, if your work can inspire others, why not speak truthfully about your involvement? Doing so will help others know who you are and what you stand for, shed a much-needed light on those in need and enlighten the public to your brand and what it stands for. Linking your business to the philanthropy and volunteer opportunities you’re involved with shapes your company culture in a positive way and confirms your values.
The positive impact you can create for yourself, your workplace, your employees and the people within the community is hard to overstate. No matter how little time or money you have right now to get started, you can still make a big difference and start realizing all the rewards your generosity can create.
Mariah Shields grew up watching her father become a bigger part of people’s lives beyond his business, giving more of himself and his resources than necessary. He taught her that philanthropy started there. Mariah is a principal at Arrow Benefits Group, where she also facilitates many of the company’s humanitarian efforts. You can reach her at (415)-493-4953 or email@example.com.
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