For All the Right Reasons

What makes something work?

Reflecting on my dive into the “cause marketing” world, I wondered why some businesses always seem to have more than enough business, regardless of natural attrition, entrepreneurial speed bumps, average service or any of a myriad of business dysfunction.

We all know that one of the best ways for a business to procure organic ‘word of mouth’ growth is by contributing to the community you are fortunate enough to be operating in.  Contribution has many options. One can donate dollars, proudly participate or collaboratively connect others to support selected community organizations.  But what I have discovered is that it is not as easy as donating your time, treasures or talents.  You can’t just give a donation to an all-volunteer organization and expect that instantly you will be flooded with requests for new business.  There’s an additional piece far more critical.

What I have discovered is that the reason behind why you give is far more important than the giving itself.  If you give expecting a return of some kind, the return is NOT there.  And if it is, it is not quick.  The expectation makes it a conditional gift.  The gift must be altruistic in reasoning.  One must give to give.  It is quite true that “Giver’s Gain,” as Walt Misener (founder of BNI) is quoted.  I believe that the gain is not in the gift.  It goes beyond the gift.  A gift must be FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS!!!

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • selecting organizations who are doing things you believe in or are aligned in similar culture
  • knowing your contribution will truly help accomplish things
  • supporting someone you respect

These reasons work in magical ways.  They go beyond the basic fantastic reasons shared in the following article

The loyalty of a client is often immeasurable.  What is it worth to hear a client tell others, “Well, that is FABULOUS, I will NEVER go anywhere else!” That was Teri Wysor’s response when she learned that Bill Goldberg from Main Street Wine & Spirits had become more selective in his giving.  He supports organizations that really make a difference and have been important to his business and family over the years. His giving calendar has evolved to fewer organizations sharing the month’s donation evenly.

Conversely, WAITT had a new member business owner who briefly joined our team.  Before any of his promised donations had been distributed he told me he wanted to take a break and no longer wished to collectively give any more.  Asking why, I was surprised as to his response. “I haven’t even received one thank-you card.”

I will learn how to respectfully teach others that donations promised must be given without expectation.  If not, disappointment will follow.  The donation may never elicit a thank-you note or even new business.  These all-volunteer organizations are accomplishing things while working jobs, running families and a whole host of other obligations.  Often, they don’t have time to write a thank you note, never mind writing one before they receive a donation!

Perhaps Winston Churchill sums it up with these two sentences: “We make a living by what we get.  We make a life by what we give.”

-Nadine Nesbitt

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