We’re stronger together than we are apart. Does that phrase sound trite? Maybe so, but it’s a fact. It’s also one of the main reasons entrepreneurs should engage in philanthropic work. Certainly, founders have a lot on their plates. Nonetheless, their willingness to give back has the potential to make every community stronger.
This isn’t something I merely preach — I live it. If you could look at my DNA under a philosophical microscope, you’d see how much philanthropy is part of my being. I’ve seen the power that comes from committing outrageous acts of charity entrepreneurship. And when you begin to support others through radical social and community entrepreneurship, you’ll see those advantages, too.
The Benefits of Giving Back to Your Community Through Entrepreneurial Pursuits
Here’s the long and short of the matter: The nonprofits and charities in your area need your help.
You have a head for the corporate world. Local nonprofits and charities likely don’t — or at least aren’t involved in the nitty-gritty details of running a business. They often struggle to reinvent wheels that you’ve already mastered or have at least improved upon. For instance, many volunteer organizations are headed up by people with huge hearts who don’t have a background in basic business. They can learn, but they often need assistance. That’s where you can come in.
By partnering with a nonprofit and sharing your skills and knowledge, you can make the nonprofit, well, profit. And you won’t just give, either. After all, the importance of philanthropy is its reciprocal nature. You’ll share yourself and your success as a startup entrepreneur, but you’ll also learn from the nonprofit’s “Aha!” moments. Together, you can talk about the lessons you’ve learned and wind up applying those lessons to both the nonprofit and your business.
Now, you might still be skeptical about how business principles actually apply to the world of philanthropy. My 60-plus years on the planet allow me to assure you they do. Business principles, nonprofit dealings, and even personal issues are all universal. And though you might not share my Christian faith, I find this Ecclesiastes verse applies to us all: “There is nothing new under the sun.”
How Entrepreneurs Can Give Back
If you’re eager to build relationships with the nonprofits you admire, you’re headed on a path that’s likely going to be good for everyone involved. However, you’ll want to keep a few hints in mind to maximize your philanthropic dealings for all parties involved:
1. Pick a nonprofit that dovetails with your passion
Everyone has a purpose and talents. Those are your passions, and they keep you going. As a budding entrepreneur, you’re already pretty comfortable with certain tasks, like rainmaking or social media marketing. Your job is to figure out what types of nonprofits allow you to make the most of those abilities and passions.
Why does this matter? Let’s face it: You can’t give your all if you aren’t personally invested in the nonprofit. You might care about an organization’s mission, but it needs to be something you can truly get behind (or that strikes your fancy) to ensure you don’t slack off at prioritizing board meetings, committee get-togethers, and fundraisers. You don’t want that. You want to get fired up and be able to say, “Oh, gosh, I have to do this!”
2. Share all of your gifts without holding back
Sometimes, we hold onto our gifts a little too tightly as entrepreneurs. We perhaps worry that someone’s going to “steal” our golden ideas. Don’t allow that negative voice to keep you from being an outside-the-box thinker when you’re engaged in philanthropic work.
You don’t have to give away any proprietary information, of course. That wouldn’t be wise. On the other hand, contributing to brainstorming fully will allow you to apply your gifts in a real-world way. Not only will you see problems from different perspectives, but you’ll also be able to make more of an impact as a contributor to your cause of choice.
3. Turn on your personal GPS
Maybe you’re still stuck and wondering how to get your dreams of offering entrepreneurial charity off the ground. At that point, it’s time to turn on your internal GPS. Figure out what you want (i.e., your end destination) and how you can put it into action (i.e., your road map.) Nothing will happen if you sit back and wait for nonprofits in need to get in touch with you. There’s an off chance they might, but it’s more likely they won’t.
As an entrepreneur, you’re not new to taking action. Use your instinctive drive to find people you can help. And remember that you don’t necessarily have to work with an existing nonprofit. If you find someone else who can match your energy, you could make a plan to contribute in untapped, unmet ways together.
4. Make a personal promise that you’ll honor your philanthropy
The final tip to help you master the art of charitable giving is to put your all behind whatever you do. Pledge to yourself that you’re not going to look back if you embark on philanthropy. Rather, you’re going to make the difference you believe you should.
You might even be surprised: Once you commit to becoming a servant leader in your community, everything will start falling into place. You’ll be able to find the right areas in which you can maximize your capabilities and do the good that matters most.
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of giving back to the community, especially when you’re an entrepreneur. Even though your calendar might seem booked to the hilt, carve out some time for philanthropic pursuits. You’ll never look back — and you have my word on that.