Monday, November 3, 2008

A Time To Do Good

Often times, good things happen when we do good.

Several years ago, before we sold our building materials business, I encountered a “mad moment.” Those of you who have owned businesses know that those moments happen when you realize that you’re spending incredible amounts of money on things that you just can’t believe. The mad moment I’m referring to here had to do with our holiday spending. I was stunned that when it came to cards, gifts for customers, vendors, etc. ---we were spending a ton of money. I decided at that moment to stop the insanity and instead decided to do something good with the money. So rather than sending cards and gifts to folks; we instead donated the money to a charity. Now in our case, my family had been sponsoring children through the Christian Children’s Fund…so that’s the charity that my company selected and all of the money that we would have spent on the holidays, we instead directed to the CCF. I sent to all of our customers and vendors a letter, along with a picture of one of the children that my company sponsored, and I told them that this is where our holiday money was going. And then something unusual happen…customers and vendors started calling me congratulating me on what we did. Most of these people never would have called after getting a Christmas greeting card from me, but they reached out when they saw the good that we were doing.

Thanks to the economy and the credit meltdown, this is going to be a tough holiday season for charities. Giving to non-profits is clearly down, so perhaps you might want to give some thought to changing around the usual way that your company deals with the holiday season. Besides doing some good for your community, you’ll also be doing good for the image of your company.

As a footnote…if you’d like to take a look at evaluating potential charities and how your contribution is spent, I’m including a link to the Charity Navigator. They aren’t the only source out there, but it’s one that I’ve used.

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