To be human is to be a meaning seeker. To be a creative is to be a meaning maker. Our brains and hearts are always working to make sense of our lives and of the world around us. It’s why we keep chasing for joy. It’s why tragedy makes our hearts ache.
I’m willing to bet that part of why you started your business includes because you wanted more meaning and connection to your work in the world.
Connecting your business to the bigger picture of what’s happening in the world around you is one way of growing your business by adding value and meaning to what you do. As Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy Why you do it.”
Being intentional to build philanthropy into your business is more than good strategy; doing good through your business is good for your soul, as a human being.
Let the ultimate goal of your business be to make a better world.
To build your business, you identify “pain points” for your clients, and you offer solutions. To build a better world through philanthropy, you identify “pain points” you see or feel in the world that move you to action to do some good.
The way that you live your life and use your gifts and business is part of your unique mark on the world. As Frederick Buechner wrote, “Your calling is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
1. CONNECT TO A CAUSE (the World’s Deep Hunger)
Start close to home to find a meaningful connection to a cause.
What are the People, Places, or Pains that you see in your heart or in the world around you that get you fired up?
When you look at the world around you, what makes you sad?
As you consume media, what stories resonate with you?
What makes your blood boil?
It could be a struggle or journey that you have personally experienced or that someone close to you is experiencing. It could be something you read on the news that gutted your heart.
If you’re not sure, it’s ok to try a few out.
The important thing is to start somewhere. Try tapping into your community network for suggestions. Piggy back onto the causes your trusted loved ones care about. Search for volunteer and charity directories in your area if you’re wanting to focus on a local cause.
As with everything else in your business, you have freedom to experiment and grow. As you take steps to be involved and become more educated, your heart will guide your steps.
2. CONTRIBUTE TO A CAUSE (with Your Deep Gladness)
Experiment with how you want to express your contribution in a way that is meaningful to you and your business. Building your business to be an impactful one can be as small or as large as you are able and willing to in your current season and capacity. Decide on the frequency of your involvement, whether it be more of a one time or seasonal involvement (eg. Christmas is a prime time) or something more regular throughout the year.
Find an expression that makes sense for you and that gets you excited.
Try different things on for size and adjust as you go. Whether you’re looking for existing opportunities to be involved, or whether you’re creating new ones, open doors of opportunity come as you make your intentions known.
Use your voice to raise awareness.
This is one of the most simple yet powerful ways you can create impact. Use your platform to share stories – about the deep need and why it’s important, about hope and change. Share why you care and what you’re dong. Mobilize and call others to join you.
Make financial contributions by donating.
A portion of or all proceeds from a specific product or service, or from a specific time period (eg. Giving Tuesday) can be donated. Create a cause-specific product or campaign (eg. limited edition design with proceeds go to a cause). Join a walkathon to raise funds and awareness for a cause.
Offer pro bono services.
Choose an organization whose work resonates with you. Have a goal of X number of projects per time period. Or, create a special intake form available for applications to inquire, which leaves you the discretion to choose which projects you want to most work with with clear definitions of what you are willing to offer.
Volunteer your time.
Offer your time and presence to your cause by joining an existing avenue for volunteers locally in your area. If you’re connected to a cause that is more global, look for online campaigns and other ways to participate virtually.
Building your business with intention and impact is good for your soul, and good for the world.
Welcome to this ongoing conversation between you and your heart (asking what makes you come alive), you and your client (asking them what makes them come alive), and you and the world (asking what pains and brokenness you can help heal in the world).
Ready to dream big about helping countless others, leave a legacy, and make an impact… without breaking the bank? Get our Ultimate Guide to Philanthropy in Business.