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.
A 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.
I 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.
I’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.
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?