Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Heart of Giving – Make It Personal

It’s true that making any sort of contribution to your community, be it in time, money or resources, is welcomed by those in need. Unfortunately, as a single company we can’t give to every group or help every person. This can be a painful reality when we’re faced with contributing to one organization to the exclusion of another.

My advice to business owners is to apply the same standard to our philanthropic efforts as we do to our business in general: do what you love. In other words, your contributions are going to have the greatest and most meaningful impact when they are motivated by your own life and what has personal meaning to you.

For me, being a father of five and one who has experienced the challenges of recovery, I feel the greatest connection to youth-oriented organizations and to those groups dedicated to helping people overcome substance abuse.

That’s where my heart is. Where is your heart? Consult your own personal history to discover where you can make the greatest contribution to your community. And then dive in.

Choosing the organizations you support based on your own life and experience will make those efforts resonate all the more profoundly with both you and the charitable organization. And much as loving what you do fuels your business energies, following your heart when it comes to your philanthropic efforts keeps you galvanized. I will leave you with this closing advice, develop an annual plan for giving for your company. It should be based on what you feel your company can give back, both through monetary resources and through donated time. Whatever you do stick to your plan and follow through, you will be glad you did. Good luck!