A Great Power Imposes Great Responsibility: Using Communication for Good

A few months ago, something curious caught my attention at our vet’s office. A small Holland lop rabbit named Arwen laid on a table. Her limp hind legs were spread out as two people who appeared to be volunteers attempted to fit a contraption to her.

Arwen broke her back while being spayed and was paralyzed. Two veterinarians recommended she be euthanized, that could be done for her and she was starting to experience complications.

Arwen's CartA local charity Friends of Rabbits refused to accept this advice and decided to fit Arwen with a cart to give her mobility again.

A few months later, my company announced its “Holiday Giving Program“: a $250 donation to a nonprofit organization specified by each employee and match any personal donations up to $250. Our rabbit recently passed away, so we made the sentimental choice of making our gift to the rescue group I saw in the vet’s office that day.

Arwen 11-7-12I recently got to see Arwen and was amazed at her progress. Several months in the cart, acupuncture and other treatments which would have cost thousands of dollars later, she had fully regained mobility.

Once faced with a death sentence, this rabbit is running around and darting through tunnels. This was only possible through the dedication of a nonprofit organization, vets who give of their time and experience and the charity of others.

We constantly sell our clients on the power of communication to drive sales or produce change. Voltaire (not Uncle Ben in Spiderman) first said “A great power imposes great responsibility.” We have amazing power as communicators to leverage our talents for the common good.

In the case of Arwen, my employer’s generosity of multiplied my donation to sustain the rescue organization which saved her. Volunteering our time can have just as powerful an impact, if not more.

Battle of Green Spring Press ConferenceI’m a history buff, so a few years I became involved with The Trust for Public Land‘s effort to preserve 202 acres of historically and ecologically significant land near Jamestown in Virginia, organizing a press conference and Revolutionary War re-enactment to highlight the Battle of Green Spring fought on part of this land in 1781.

Thousands of dollars were donated, hundreds of spectators learned the importance of the battlefield, and a video was produced further highlighting the cause, ultimately resulting with the purchase and preservation of the land.

My personal contribution was a drop in the bucket, but I can’t drive through Jamestown without feeling a slight amount of satisfaction knowing I had a hand in preserving that land.

Bottom Line

Whatever cause speaks to you personally, helping raise its voice can literally save a life or preserve something for generations to come.

In his book EntreLeadership, author Dave Ramsey says “Being generous is the hallmark of people who live successful lives and who operate business with soul…Some of the greatest joys of becoming successful are associated with acts of generosity to your team, your customers, and your community.”

Here are some easy “acts of generosity” you can use to support a cause:

  • Create a meme: How many Willy Wonka or Grumpy Cat memes have you seen? Memes can be extremely effective and online generators make them easy to create.
  • Write a blog post: A well written blog post can get a lot of traction and double as cause marketing. Advocates and volunteers will become evangelists with retweets and Facebook shares. The story of a rabbit-owning chocolate company owner inspired a blog post on the considerations behind Easter adoptions of rabbits, which went viral with animal rescue groups.
  • Make giving part of your culture: It can be as formal as a charitable matching program or taking on pro bono accounts, or as simple as allowing hours to volunteer or donating furniture or office supplies you don’t need.

Can you think of others?

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2 Responses to A Great Power Imposes Great Responsibility: Using Communication for Good

  1. melissa says:

    Hello.
    I belong to the Friends of Rabbits rescue and I was so very please to read your article just now. My patner of 18 years foes evry Wed nght to the rescue locted in Columbia MD to help clean the litter boxes of all the buns and to help his self to a bunch of hug and cuddles from all the beautful loving bunnies. I seel items on ebay to help defray some of their costs. I have followed Arwen’s progress when ever posted and Itruely beleive love and good medical care always comes through in the end. We have 4 rescued buns only one fron friends the one came from ASPCA, and one was dumped on our lawn at 2 AM and lucky we adopted because the family that had her were starving her to death and we took her and brough her back to life.
    Again Thank you for the wonderful article.
    Melissa

  2. Thank you so very much for your amazing blog. I love your acts of generosity suggestions and truly believe that kindness begets kindness…and bonds people to you. Companies that have incorporated “goodness” into their culture are the ones I promote and deal with. Yes, I am only one person but at least I know that by supporting a company that believes in being an “excellent human” the world becomes a much nicer place. Arwen is amazing and Friends of Rabbits Pam Hurley deserves all the credit for not giving up on this little soul. What a fabulous story! Thank you from all of us who are living the bunny life!

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