The Power of One: Standing Up As An Advocate

It’s safe to say that most women are programmed to be needed and to help others. It’s our mamma bear meter in action always looking for ways to help and nurture.  However, I am always saddened when I visit with someone who says, “I don’t know what I can do, but I might be able to help.”

 In a single sentence they downgrade their ability and shut off the opportunity to change the world with simple acts of service and kindness. Each of us possesses character traits that can help almost anyone or any cause. There is strength in numbers and definitely strength in love. One person can make a huge impact on many by a simple gesture of love and gratitude.

A critical part of entrepreneurship is standing up for the causes that we believe in as an advocate and giving of our time to local nonprofit organizations.  Here are some tips on finding an organization and cause that will not only enrich your life personally, but also build your professional relationships as you stand up for your beliefs and serve those in need.

Choose Your Cause, Write It Down and Seek It Out

When I was a commercial lender in Ogden, Utah – our regional leader encouraged each of his employees to serve in volunteer capacities with organizations that they were personally passionate about outside of work. At the time, this was a concept that I hadn’t really thought about, but it made a lot of sense because it meant that a person was 100% invested in the cause because their heart was in it.  There were many times that a board of directors seat was available with a nonprofit organization that meant a person would know all the right people if they did it, but if the employee didn’t care about the cause, it was pointless, because their heart wouldn’t be in it.  

After this conversation with him, I really thought about it and decided that my main causes to offer charitable service would include women and children at risk. That translated into work done at Catholic Community Services for new or expectant low-income mothers, participating in a holiday event at a local women’s shelter, and lots of work, including a leadership position on the fundraising board of the local children’s justice center.

Most states have an organization that will list all active nonprofit organizations and their contact information in an online directory. I know that Utah and Colorado have thriving organizations like this because I have worked with them.  The best way to start is to search on Google.  I’ve made it super simple by including the link that searches nonprofits near you.  

Set Aside Time Each Week to Serve

As entrepreneurs, mothers, wives, lovers, friends, aunties, we are so busy all the time. I get it!  However, service is so important and I can’t tell you how healing it can be to the soul. And so I say this, with all the love in my heart, make time and put it on the damn calendar already! I am definitely a creature of habit who functions better with routine so I set aside time each week. Once you decide that it is part of the weekly routine, you will look forward to it! I’ve experienced this personally and I’ve also seen it with coworkers and friends over the years.  If you’re anything like me, you live and die by Outlook, and recurring appointments are the best way to make this happen.  

Budget Charitable Donations Every Year

Many times businesses get caught between a rock and a hard place because they are bombarded by donation requests and run out of or go over budget because they don’t have a plan, or they feel backed into a corner to give on short notice. My recommendation to you would be two-fold: set a budget for charitable donations every year and set guidelines on the types of organizations and community functions you will donate to each year. This will help draw the line and set boundaries, thus giving you the empowerment to say no to some and yes to some. Educate your employees and management team on this list and the budget so they are amply prepared to serve as gate-keepers when the donation seekers come to visit.  

Encourage Your Employees To Volunteer & Lead By Example

I can’t stress enough how critical this tip is for employee morale and the greater good of your company.  I have worked for both types of companies: those who encouraged and those who discouraged community service.  I am a natural giver, so I am always a happier employee at the companies that let me volunteer. Be the kind of boss who allows your employees to serve and lead by example and do it yourself.  Create paid-time-off policies that include pay for volunteer activities and encourage them to use it!  Additionally, implement volunteering as a team on a regular basis as a way to build teamwork and serve the communities you live in.  The secret in all of this is you will never find a better public relations tactic than rolling up your sleeves and helping the less fortunate in your community.  

The moral of the story

One person can make a huge impact on many by making time to serve!

Until next time, my lovelies!

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