I recently attended a fund raising event at the home of a good friend of mine. The event, which was incredibly well attended, was to benefit a scholarship program for at-risk youth. After the pre-requisite speeches from board and staff members, up stepped a very tall, thin boy named Joshua. Joshua explained how this organization and its donors had made a difference in his life and his ability to complete his education. So much so, that he had recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from his university and had chosen to continue his education in New York. The thunderous applause after he spoke was slight compared to the sound of checkbooks being opened and wallets being whipped out. It was pretty amazing.
By now, you're probably asking what this has to do with anything. Well, the answer is simple: As we receive, so should we give. This industry is finance drive. We all know that. But attaching your name and/or your company to the charitable organization of your choice can be a tremendous benefit. A relationship with a charity -- especially one relating to your chosen demographical market -- can be a real asset in the eyes of your clients. Let me give you an example:
A while back, I worked with a client that chose the Alzheimer's Foundation as his charity to support. He had some personal first-hand knowledge of the disease and its effects on families, so it was natural that he chose this particular organization to support. His involvement began as a hands-on volunteer, a job where he helped ill patients get to doctors appointments and made sure that their basic needs were met. Later, he segued into offering his company name as a sponsor for Alzheimer related functions such as charity dinners, golf tournaments and fundraising auctions. Recently, he added his sponsorship to an event hosted by a local public television station. In return, he received some ad time on that same station (yes, you can advertise on PBS stations, but that will be discussed in another article), to be entitled free of charge. Once again, for free! The conceptualization, production and voice work -- all for free. Can you see the benefit now?
While I'm not guaranteeing that a trip along the same path will guarantee you the same result, nothing ventured nothing gained, right? These are economically challenging times for all of us, but especially charitable organizations. Even if you don't have a large cache of funds set aside for such an undertaking, you don't really need to have such capital available. In exchange, offer a service that you provide to the clients of the organization and, bam, free publicity. As you begin to see the reward from this extension of your skill and expertise, you may find your ability to extend of yourself financially a bit simpler as well.
Now let's talk about how your clients will see your philanthropy. We have talked at length about how important your credibility is in the shark tank of today's financial scene. The goal is to always stay one step ahead of the advisor closest to you. It's a tough job, we all know that. But, by supporting a charitable organization, you are showing your clients that, while you are focused on their overall financial well-being, you are also concerned about the quality of life of others less fortunate, as well. Will it make you a hero? I can't guarantee it. But I can tell you that support of the charitable organization of your choice can be both financially and emotionally fulfilling.
This leads to my final point. As we touched on earlier in this article, this business can have tremendous financial rewards, and it seems the more you make, the more the quest for more money grows. But success in dollars doesn't necessarily equate to success in all aspects of life. There is an old adage that says "Be charitable before wealth makes thee covetous." The ability to share and to give back can have a tremendous effect on both you and your business -- perhaps more than you could imagine. It's important to never forget that there are those individuals that are less fortunate than you and I. By giving a little something back, we not only make someone else's life a bit better, but the benefit to our own life as well as the life of our business is exponential, as well. You and your business deserve all the benefits that an alliance with the charity of your choice can bring.
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