Entrepreneurs have often been told that the path to success lies in being as greedy as possible, and no less an authority than Gordon Gekko has said Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.
On the flipside...
Research shows that being kind and generous does not just help others – it can also help you build your business faster and make more money in the long run.
What Charity Means and Why the Way You Give Matters
Charity means different things to different people. For some, charity is giving back and for others, it’s just writing a check and doing nothing else.
As a business owner, I don’t believe in just writing checks and expecting good things to happen — your charitable actions MUST come from a strong inner desire to help others and has must be properly directed for you to enjoy a "win-win-win" situation.
Gifting someone with a lump of cash is nice, but sustained efforts will always defeat lump sum donations. If you are considering donating to a non-profit purely financially, consider splitting the gift and making it a sustainable recurring donation. This is very helpful to organizers of non-profits as it helps with planning and budget stability.
Also, ask organizations if they offer business sponsorships before donating financially. I see a lot of charities with "sponsored by" sections on their website. I personally never click on those but it is still good to have proof of your support.
DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT donate financially to a charity you have not thoroughly investigated.
Conversely, donating to an organization you don't really believe in and using it purely as a PR tool is pretty scummy. I see it all over the place. Don't be like that. Okay? Thanks.
Your business comes from society, so give back through charities that align with your brand identity and that allow clients to feel good about supporting the cause while doing business with you. Remember, you can donate time too, not just money.
Boost Your Motivation and Energy
While people often associate being charitable with being a good human being, there are tangible benefits to being generous with your time and money for those who have their own businesses. Here’s why you should consider doing something kind for someone else if you’re an entrepreneur.
When you help others on a regular basis (for example, donate money or volunteer at a soup kitchen), not only does it make you feel better about yourself; according to recent studies on mental health, altruism can improve both personal relationships and long-term success in business.
Helping others is also known to give individuals more energy—both mentally and physically—which allows them to do more in less time when working on projects they’re passionate about.
When your success is tied to a cause that is truly important to you, your motivation will skyrocket. The hard part is finding or forming a non-profit that TRULY aligns with your values.
Give Back to Society and Society Will Give Back to You
It's really just that simple.
Charity isn’t just about what you get out of it. We all (including you) benefit from a society that lifts each other up. Even if not a financial gain, who would not benefit from a kinder world? Hopefully not you.
For all the skeptics out there, let me break it down.
If you’re a business owner, then there’s a very good chance that you have enjoyed some of your success thanks to your community and those around you. Supporting charities can not only benefit those in need but also help build goodwill among others in your industry. After all, entrepreneurs aren’t out for themselves—they’re creating jobs and improving lives—so giving back should certainly be on your radar.
Many of the non-profits I have worked with are actively looking to partner with businesses. All it takes to get involved is usually a phone call or email.
Working with Charities Will Help You Network
Being charitable doesn’t just give you a chance to help out others; it also gives you a great networking opportunity. If there are charities your business works with regularly, think about getting involved in their events or fundraisers.
There may even be ways that they can offer value to your business (e.g., letting you put stickers on their packaging if they sell your product). But before you start thinking about doing work for free, remember: It may well lead to paying work down the line.
If you ever need help with your business in the future, you’ll have people in your contacts who may be able to give you a hand. If they refer someone, there’s even more value for them if you offer a referral fee.
In conclusion, even if we don’t have money to give, we can always offer something else that matters just as much: ourselves. Giving back is an excellent way to align your mission with a higher purpose and network with professionals of like mind.
Take care and thank you for reading!
Parker's extra food for thought:
Are greed and altruism mutually exclusive?
Does lack of societal support and understanding lead to robin hood type criminality?