“Generosity is the key to success.” That is what Keith Ferrazzi tells students in his book “Never Eat Alone”. Can you think of a time when you bailed someone out? Not just held the door open (although that is a good start) or gave someone a lift somewhere. I mean helped them out in a bind and did it because it made you happy, not because you were expecting payback. That is generosity.
How does generosity fit into marketing? Donations. Service. Giving to your community. Teaching the next generation.
Charities are easy to find. I’m sure you have seen a telethon or two in your lifetime. If you’re in business long enough, phone banks of people are out there dialing for dollars armed with a script, overusing your first name, and asking you if the kids can count on you to donate some random amount of money (who really donates $419?).
Find charities that make sense. Charities related to your industry. Resaurants=Food banks. Clothing stores=shelters. Doctor’s offices=medical charities. The examples are endless. Give with a happy heart. If you don’t feel good about giving, then don’t be “guilted” into giving. Don’t expect a return on investment. Chances are it will come back around. Give because it is the right thing to do. Try to give to charities that are doing work in your community. Your community takes care of you and your business. It makes sense to take care of your community in return.
True corporate generosity does not stop with cutting the check. Serve the community which you live. Offer your services to charities. Coach a kids sports team. Serve on the board of directors. Volunteer at their fundraisers and events. Don’t do it because it is the “in” thing to do. It seems that everyone has read the same books and articles: “join as many boards as possible so you can network with people who can benefit your career.” Give me a break. Serve on boards because you care about the cause. People will see right through false service. Make a difference in the world.
What do you have to offer the next generation? Your knowledge, your influence, and your encouragement. Do you remember a mentor, teacher, or a coach from your childhood or early adulthood that had a positive impact on your life? First you should call them and say thank you. Second, emulate them. Find someone to mentor. Help them get over the obstacles they are facing with the knowledge you gained from overcoming them. Don’t preach at them. They have enough people in their life doubting them and the decisions they are making. Encourage them. Believe in them. Do it because they are the future and they can make an impact.
Generosity is the secret to success. Further, it is not just the secret to your success, it is ultimately the secret to the success of future generations. What are you doing to foster generosity in your corporate culture?