15 Jan 3 Ways Even Cash-Strapped Startups Can Do More Good In 2018
“My business will donate more money once I’m better off,” is something I’ve heard over the years from entrepreneurs, and at times, I have said it myself. This past year, I’ve learned that there are many more ways to give—and not just in the monetary sense.
This fall, I took a trip to Brazil and I was introduced to Neide Santos, founder of Vida Corrida, an organization that helps kids stay safe through organized sports in one of São Paulo’s most dangerous barrios. As Neide told me her story, my heart broke. She had lost both her husband and one son to gun violence in Capão Redondo, Brazil and started the organization to save children from a similar fate. I wondered how my business and many others could help them even if we didn’t have thousands of dollars at our fingertips to donate.
Volunteer Your Time to Organizations in Need
At 7am, Neide’s son picked me up from Sao Paulo and we went together to Capão Redondo, a barrio in which gun violence is a rising concern and daily occurrence. Looking out the window, there wasn’t a child to be found playing in the street. We drove to a park far out of the city. Getting out of the car, I saw dozens of children running, laughing, and playing. Talking to Neide, she explained that Vida Corrida hosts organized times for children to get together and learn through running, play, and participating in group sports together. Talking to a mother who was volunteering, she explained that this was one of the only times her son was able to get out and exercise because of the condition of the neighborhood.
There are seventeen volunteers at Vida Corrida. They volunteer their time to help the children, asking nothing in return. The organization wouldn’t be possible without the time of its volunteers and a time donation can be just as beneficial as funds. As a volunteer, you can help an organization in a variety of ways, from helping with administrative tasks to organizing and running new programs.
“Anyone can change the world for someone by volunteering.” said Santos explaining that volunteering gives both to the volunteer and the recipient. If you’re looking for a way to give back but your budget doesn’t allow you to, volunteer with an organization in need. Whether you are passionate about helping children or animals, there are hundreds of thousands of organizations that could benefit from as little as a day of your time. Like Vida Corrida, these organizations count on the support of their volunteers to function.
Another way your business can help is by providing expertise to philanthropic causes. Though your business might not have the money right now to donate, you’re likely to have a smart team with valuable expertise to offer others. No matter what your profession, there is something you can do to help. If you are a design agency, then consider helping a non-profit refresh its branding. If you’re a law firm, consider offering your services pro bono to help an organization in need. Organizations like Vida Corrida could use help with everything from website maintenance to partnership development, which are skills many businesses have already mastered.
“There are many ways to collaborate with philanthropic causes beyond money,” stated Xavi Cortadellas, Head of Design & Innovation at Gatorade, who after hearing the organization’s story, developed a program to help them. “I met Neide during one relay race from São Paulo to Rio organized by Nike. She was pushing the rest of the team the same way she pushes all the kids to run and stay active at Vida Corrida. Volunteering and mentoring are great ways to get involved with organizations and contribute with time and specific skills or talent. Another way others can help is to to identify sponsors or big organizations that may contribute to organizations like Vida Corrida.”
By creating partnerships, making connections, and utilizing your expertise, the possibilities for how you can help an organization are endless.
Everyone has a voice. While you might not have deep pockets, chances are you and your business have social media accounts with an audience. Getting the message out about a great cause can be done through a simple social media post. If your company has a monthly newsletter, consider using next month’s announcement to tell your customers and partners about a cause worthy of attention. If you have a blog, Facebook or Instagram page, just one post can help solicit donations and support from your network—change starts with a conversation.
“I think all big companies need to look beyond the bottom line and think broadly about their values and what they want stand for,” continued Cortadellas. Find an organization that shares your values and together you can help spread these values even further. The year 2018 is a new opportunity to do more good both in your professional and personal life. How will you make a difference this year?
Source: Fast Company