I wrote last fall about the ethical need for organizations to give back to the community to help those whom they disrupt. After all, if I create something that eliminates 20% of the accountants in the world, then taking some of the profit to help the community reabsorb the accountants back into society is the right thing to do.
I have always believed that one should always give back to the Community as a whole. I was a Boy Scout leader before I had kids to pass on what I had learned in Scouting. I was part of a service fraternity in college that had real, not token, requirements about participating in and leading service projects.
Service as Self-Improvement
One of the things that I was taught at an early age and that I have confirmed through experience, service builds, for want of a better word, character. When you start out, it builds confidence. As you take larger roles, it starts to develop leadership. You also learn to work with different types of people and build friendships with the people around you.
Spending an afternoon destroying a concrete slab, blazing a new hiking trail, or building a house can really bond a group together.
Service was a habit I kept after college, giving back to the organizations that helped me while I was growing up. I did this for a long time, until I had kids. Then time and energy became a factor and I had to shift gears.
Working with Limited Time
After kids, I have had to do two things as my “free” time is much more restricted with young children.
First, I have been more likely to give money to causes that I wanted to supported. Usually it has been a group that is important to me, a family member, or a friend. I have worked to make sure that I am positively impacting those that I care about.
Second, I have sought to work for organizations that help me give back. Washington Consulting held many service project including supporting the Arlington Food Bank every year, and I built bicycles for disadvantage youths while at AIIM.
Alfresco also has that focus. With our CEO, Doug Dennerline, leading the way, there is a consistent focus on giving back in many ways. One of our most recent activities is supporting the March of Dimes.
Have You Given Back?
I could just ask you to give to a good cause but that would ruin the entire point of this post. Sure, you can support the March of Dimes on my donation page, but the point of this post wasn’t to have you give money to them.
I want you to give back to the world in a way that means something to you. If you are low on money, give of your time. There are kids that could benefit from your experience. Homes that people need to stay warm. Food and blood that needs to be collected.
If your schedule is packed, give some money. It doesn’t have to be a lot. If the richest third of the U.S. gave $10 to five different organizations over the course of the year, that would be over $5 billion in donations even if nobody gave anything else. That is an impact.
Find your cause. Support them. Tell people about that cause. Help others with their causes and they’ll help you with yours.
This is a team sport where we all win if we work together.