Leaders of successful organizations have much for which to be thankful. Such organizations receive many benefits from their relationship with society and it is incumbent upon organizations and their leaders to give back.
Many in our local community, this country and the world, struggle to survive and thrive. Single parents with part-time jobs struggle to support their children; people battle physical and emotional illnesses; native communities work to build basic infrastructure to improve health and education; and, in many parts of the world people starve.
We all gain when the weakest become stronger.
You can use your leadership skills to create a “giving back mission” that articulates your organization’s role in helping others. You can choose a beneficiary worthy of the efforts of yourself and your employees, set challenging goals, create and execute a plan. You can track and celebrate successes. In other words you can treat giving back as an important organizational project.
These are numerous ways to choose a cause. Find one that grabs you emotionally; perhaps based on the struggle a family member or staff person has faced. When giving touches the heart, everyone is more passionate about helping. Consult others about organizations doing important work in your community. Ask employees for their ideas and lead them in the selection process.
There are several models of giving that are open to you:
- Contributing money, either personally or as an organization is the most common and flexible; but it tends to be impersonal.
- You can plan or participate in events. This can involve many people, raise money, build teamwork and bring publicity to the cause. Volunteer satisfaction increases in direct proportion to the effort expended.
- You can act as an inspiration to others, providing your personal time, wisdom and energy doing something particularly challenging. A business friend of mine raised funds by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
- You can help publicize a cause by profiling it in your corporate newsletter or attaching it to your corporate marketing.
You may never see the effect of your efforts; yet, it may touch you like it did me, when my daughter received plasma after I had given blood the previous week. When you lead in giving back, you will know deep down that people are better off, society is stronger, and your organization will share the benefits.