I just returned from a speaking engagement in Nashville, Tennessee, where I spoke to a group of leaders in the Rotary International organization. I am a Rotarian myself and was excited to be a part of the event, and if you don’t know what Rotary is then I can tell you that it is a group of 1.2 million people around the world who volunteer to help others and make their world a better place. I joined Rotary many years ago in the hopes of making new friends to grow my business contacts, but I have come to realize that it means much more to me now. I wanted to share my thoughts with you.
One of the greatest things about Rotary, and many other civic organizations, is that it gives individuals a chance to accomplish bigger things that alone would be nearly impossible to do. Collectively, 1.2 million Rotarians donate millions of dollars, and no doubt millions of hours of time, to helping others in their community and around the world. Just to give you one example, Rotary decided over 20 years ago to take on the challenge of ridding the world of the painful, evil, devastating disease of Polio. Through the hands-on efforts of Rotarians vaccinating children around the world and billions of dollars invested in the process, Polio will soon be laid upon the trash heap of history.
Now let me switch gears a little and share with you what I think is one of the biggest missed opportunities that businesses experience. If you want to make a difference as a business and ‘give back’, there is no easier way than partnering with civic organizations like Rotary and other charitable organizations to help raise money and awareness for the causes they support. As a business you can do it without seeming like you are trying to shill for new business or in it for yourself. Take a genuine interest in helping others and your customers will see what you are doing. Do it with class and genuine caring and your customers will reward you with more business. Plus, let’s be honest, it is just a good thing to do.
So if you want to grow your business, then give back. Trust me when I say you’ll get much more in return than you ever give out.