Leaders of all types are recipients of great things, and as such are expected to reciprocate with a level of generosity that works with their situation. But generally when we think of the gifts we are given, it is our prosperity. Maybe it’s the fact that there are a few extra dollars in our monthly budgets after we’ve paid the bills and saved for the future. So, why not give some of that extra money to those in need?
This is a great way to help others, but for some, finances might be especially tight, or maybe money isn’t the way they feel comfortable giving back to the community that has helped them get to where they are.
That’s okay. There are ways to give that don’t require writing a big check. In fact some of these methods could be worth ten times what others are giving financially.
Give Your Skills
Over time, you may have developed some unique skills from your profession that could be incredibly useful for others in a particular situation. These skills while seemingly commonplace to you, might in fact be the very thing a person in need is looking for.
A contractor that has spent his life building and remodeling homes could reach out to a community center and instead of giving money. They could give advice on how best to make use of the space they have. A gardener may help a church understand how to best care for its landscaping, minimizing the amount of money spent on upkeep. A CPA could lead courses for free on how to best plan personal finances and prepare taxes so that low income families can receive the most possible in tax returns. Other examples might be web design, mechanical repairs, grant writing, mock interviews, or musical performances.
These skills could effectively save an organization thousands of dollars in consulting and professional fees, maybe much more than you would have given financially.
Give Your Networks
No one ever succeeds on their own. There are always those around them that have been there to give them support and guide them along the way. They maybe even gave them a chance at a job when everyone else said no. During your career, you’ve certainly come across people in dozens of industries, even family members. Offering to connect those in need with the resources they need to succeed could be your way of giving back.
Perhaps it’s getting that young journalist a coveted interview with the CEO of the hottest startup in town. Or maybe there’s a housing association that is having trouble getting the word out about their subsidized apartments. Connecting the people you know looking for a home with that association could make a world of difference on both sides.
Give Your Space
Sometimes what a person or group needs more than anything else is a place to hold events or stage a large project. It could be as simple as a quiet living room for a recovery group to hold meetings without feeling judged. It could be as grandiose as an event hall that you own and reserve on an unused night for a gala to support your favorite charity. Whatever your means allow, giving a place for people to congregate can help solidify communication and give them the ability to push their mission forward without worrying about one of the largest barriers to progress.
Keep in mind that not every person who needs help is homeless and on the streets, or every organization a massive multinational non-profit trying to end world hunger. While these are definitely causes that need help and could use your support, there are plenty of others you may connect with on a more personal level that might just need a helping hand. Remember the face and need of those receiving your generosity, as those who receive it will surely remember yours.