Muhammad Ali is credited with the phrase, “ Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth” Over the past week I’ve had the opportunity to witness something wonderful, people who’s lives are already filled with responsibility are taking the time to pay that rent, to volunteer and give something back to their community. For example, Ron has served as President of our local school board and the Lions, a civic group in the community. Craig was recently recognized for his work with homeless families, youth and people facing housing crises. Jim and Dick have spent countless hours coordinating the fund-raising efforts for a Veteran’s Center while Jillian is volunteering her time to serve as Event Coordinator for November’s Reading Rising Event. There are countless others, the parents who volunteer hours upon hours to work with our young athletes and artists; those who volunteer their time at our public libraries, elder care centers; and houses of worship; and those who perform some small service that is truly and genuinely appreciated by a person or organization. The reality is, everyone benefits from volunteering, including those who are giving of their time.
Dave Meltzer, CEO and Founder of Sports Marketing 1, and a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor shares his thoughts on service to others in his Entrepreneur post, “Empowerment and the Importance of Giving Back” He shares, “I would not be the person I am today without the experiences and people I have come across along the way. Based on his own experiences, Meltzer provides three recommendations to be kept in mind as we seek to provide service to others.
1 Know Your Experiential Values
2 Trust the Universe
3 Give Back to Go Forward
His piece includes a valuable piece of advice we all need to remember, “The people who gave me their valuable time and dedication, inspired me to do the same.
Jenny Santi, a philanthropy advisor and author of The Giving Way to Happiness: Stories and Science Behind the Life-Changing Power of Giving, makes a powerful opening statement in her Time On-Line post, The Secret to Happiness is Helping Others. She writes, “Scientific research provides compelling data to support the anecdotal evidence that giving is a powerful pathway to personal growth and lasting happiness.” She is also a realist and recognizes that sometimes we can get so caught up in helping others that we feel depleted. Hence, it is critical that we consider some tips to guide us in our service to others:
• Find Your Passion – It is so much easier to give of your time when you have a passion for what you are doing. It’s not how much we give, it’s the love and passion we put into what we give.
• Give Your Time – Time is finite. Many will tell you it is the most precious commodity we have. That being said, devoting your time to service for others is perhaps the greatest gift you can share.
• Give to Organizations with Transparent Aims and Results – Knowing the purpose of your gift and being able to see tangible results provides a greater sense of accomplishment and personal happiness.
• Find Ways to Integrate Your Interests and Skills With the Needs of Others – Be cognizant of your own interests and skills, but be willing to modify and be “otherish” (the willingness to give more than you receive)
• Be Proactive, Not Reactive – Take some time to think about those causes that have a personal meaning to you and be proactive in giving your time. If you see the need, why wait to be asked?
• Don’t be Guilt-tripped into Donating Time or Money – The decision to provide service or support should fit you. The better the fit, the greater the sense of purpose, meaning and happiness.
So what does “ Giving Back” look like in the workplace? According to William Craig, founder of WebpageFX, ranked as the best place to work in Pennsylvania, among small and midsize organizations, by the Central Penn Business Journal, progressive-minded companies need to get serious about giving back as it can serve the bottom line and retention of skilled millennials. In an IDG Contributor Network “Opinion” piece entitled, “Leaders: Give Back to Boost Employee Productivity”, Craig encourages corporate leaders to let employees know their work is making a difference in the community. He opens with his case for giving back. Citing two studies he shares that US workers put in greater effort and deliver higher earnings per company share when they feel their efforts are going toward something meaningful. Further, such action often serves to get employees invested in the local community thus increasing retention. How can this be accomplished?
• Organize a Day of Service – Provide a day of hands-on experience. Perhaps a charity drive, a park clean-up, or Habitat for Humanity project.
• Host a Giveaway – Consider sponsoring a scholarship or providing funding for a community project, The organization can set-up a matching fund initiative to support the local cause.
• Revisit the Company’s Mission Statement – Incorporate social responsibility into the mission of the company.
• Become a Citizen of the World – Adopt a third-world school, support an emerging economy , provide funding to Red Cross or Doctors/Dentists Without Borders.
Craig leaves us with something worth thinking about, “You and your team members will get the satisfaction of knowing that your work serves a higher purpose, and you’ll rest in the knowledge that those things you most often take for granted — your money and your time — have helped make somebody else’s life a little brighter.
I like that, “Make somebody else’s life a little brighter this week!” That being said, I encourage you to Embrace the Challenge,