Several weeks ago I was asked to join a campaign to raise funds and awareness for the Kentucky chapter of Best Buddies. They serve people with IDD (intellectual and developmental disabilities) by creating opportunities for one-to-one friendships in elementary, high school and universities. I was looking for an opportunity to give of myself in a big way, but didn’t think I had a particular connection to the organization. I am discovering that I am much more connected than I originally thought.
As the campaign gets rolling, my thoughts have been focused on how the act of giving has always been a catalyst for growth. So much that one of the standard questions in my client interview/intake is, “What can you give for free?”
I have 2 main reasons for asking the question. First I genuinely want them to build a system of giving into their businesses. Secondly, I want to see how well they can think and accept creative ideas.
Here are some of the questions that arise in our discussions about
Why should I give something away?
Whether silent or public, giving builds personal connections with people and groups. It establishes your reputation as a generous and compassionate person/organization (that others want to participate/associate). It helps to attract other givers to you. Most of all, giving paves the way to receiving.
What should I give away?
Products and portions of profits are a great place to start. If every business did this, we could likely solve some of the larger problems currently facing society. Going beyond the surface; consider giving expertise and lessons; time and talents; thanks and appreciation; trust and respect; love and humanity; and honest, helpful feedback.
Each of these can be done through personal mentorship, blogs and social media, as well as guest presentations to classrooms. While the recipients of these gifts have huge opportunities, the biggest remains within you as you collect, organize and refine your thoughts on various topics.
How much should I give?
“As much as you can” is the only answer I can offer. When you give in alignment with your strengths and passions, your gifts are often multiplied. When you have an abundance of a resource (time, money, energy, connections, etc.) more can be given without much of a burden. When you ‘have little to give’ is the best time to get creative about your gifts. You never know when you will ignite a flame in someone else that makes it possible for them to do something great.
A friend of mine is doing some traveling to help him through a life transition. I replied with a supportive comment to one of his facebook posts that started a 10 minute text conversation about seemingly inconsequential things. He told me a few days later that it was one of the best conversations he’s had in a while and it helped him through a particularly challenging couple of days.
You know what; HIS comment made MY day as well!
Gifts have no ROI.
You haven’t given a gift if you are at all interested in measuring or documenting the return. If that is the case, you have made a loan, exchanged services, traded favors, or something else. What makes a gift different than these is that it is personal; it is distinctly human, and so much more than these constraints.
Lastly, I am fascinated and inspired by how groups of people functioned together and formed societies before our current focus on economics. Humanity thrives on gift-giving! Let’s get back to it.
If you want to support my efforts with Best Buddies Kentucky; financial contributions can be made here, or send me a message with a gift you would like to give