“With great power comes great responsibility.” – Uncle Ben
When you’re in a position to give back, are you obligated to do so?
Absolutely not. It’s a personal choice.
But there is a lot is going on in this world right now which isn’t great. And it tends to leave us feeling helpless and hopeless.
Companies such as Apple, Expedia, and Google offer employee matching gift programs.
This means employees submit forms to their employers requesting the company match their donation made to a nonprofit.
Other companies, such as Salesforce and Walmart, offer a volunteer grant match program.
This means when employees donate their time to a non-profit, they submit applications for their employer to donate money to the organization.
Many organizations of all sizes offer paid time off for volunteering during company hours of operation.
Do Some Good
Recently, my business partner and I were thinking about this very thing and came to a realization.
While we don’t have funds to donate, we are in a position to donate our time and skills to those causes which mean something to us.
We began reaching out to folks in our network to see if there were any opportunities to put our research and analytics skills to good use.
We came up with a few different analyses that shed light on what’s been going on with voters.
Our goal? Education and starting informed conversations.
While you might not all be in a position to affect large-scale change, there are ways you can give back and make a difference on a smaller scale.
You, Too, Can Do Good
So let’s talk about you for a minute.
If you decide you do want to give back but aren’t sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place.
There are many solo-practitioners (not to mention agency owners or in-house marketers) out there who don’t have the resources, or employees, to be as philanthropic as they would like to be.
Don’t fret! There are ways to do something positive which don’t involve donating money.
If you’re a small business owner, like I am, your funds might be tight anyway.
So how can you donate other things of value?
Let’s use the example of an animal shelter. We know shelters of all kinds rely on volunteers and donations to operate daily.
If you don’t have money to donate, what else can do you to help out?
Volunteer Your Time
Volunteering time is the easiest and most common way to give something.
Non-profit organizations are always on the lookout for people who can help out for a few hours a day.
Check with your local animal shelter to see if they need help cleaning cages, giving baths, feeding animals, or taking them on walks.
These are tasks most shelters rely heavily on volunteers to perform.
You might even be able to set up a relationship where you have a set time each week or month to spend at the shelter. This allows you to plan for it in your day and they can bank on your time.
Volunteer Your Skills
You’re a talented person and have spent a lot of time honing your skills for your clients and your company.
Take social media, for example. Everyone uses it, but not everyone knows how to use it well.
Perhaps you know your favorite non-profit is trying to get the word out, but they currently don’t have the necessary resources.
Your local shelter is probably craving skills like this but cannot afford to hire someone to do these things.
Creating a variety of social posts and teaching them how to share across channels is something they’d find highly valuable.
You may even be able to set up an automated system for them to make social media a lighter lift.
Many shelters use social media as a way to get the word out for events, showcase animals up for adoption, and ask for items they need.
If you know how to create engaging posts and can optimize performance in your sleep, donate your skills to those that don’t have the resources.
If you have a network and see opportunities to connect people, then do it!
Start conversations or make introductions.
You have the opportunity to bring really cool people together in one place—virtually or otherwise.
Even sharing posts from a shelter is helpful—you never know who you’re going to reach.
If you have colleagues with skills you know are beneficial, reach out and see if they’re willing to volunteer. There is no harm in asking.
Sometimes, just making the offer is a great way to give back.
There isn’t always a need, but letting people know you’re available in case something does come up offers peace of mind.
Let your local shelter know when you’re available and that you can pop in during those times to offer assistance.
Even if they don’t need help at the moment, they will at some point. And having reliable people to count on makes a huge difference to a volunteer-based association.
If you’re still not sure, check with the community leaders in your town and ask if anyone is looking for help.
You can also post a note on social media letting people know you have time you’re looking to donate.
Lastly, hit up Google and search for “volunteer opportunities near me” or “non-profits near me” and start making some calls.
Nothing beats the feeling of being able to do something selfless for another person.
So get to work!