I know many of you are actively involved in your communities. In fact, your problem is not how to get involved, but how to choose between all the worthy organizations out there.
In the U.S., Thanksgiving is this week. (No, really!) It´s generally considered the start of the "season of giving." For those of you who are not actively involved in supporting worthy causes, let me encourage you and your employees to get involved. Even a small effort on your part can make a big difference in someone’s life.
If you don´t work in retail and the holiday season is somewhat slower for your business, I encourage you to allow your employees time off to volunteer for your local food bank, Salvation Army, children´s hospital or other worthy charity.If you are in retail, nearly all of you are now into your most intense time of the year. When I managed a retail jewelry store, we earned 26% of our profits in the month of December. We didn´t have time to let employees off to volunteer. But there are other ways retailers and other small businesses can get involved. Put a box in your store to collect donations of food, toys, or clothing for local organizations. Pick a charity and put a collection jar on your counter.
Your customers like to see that you care about your community. Investing a little effort in civic involvement strengthens the relationships you have with those customers who also believe in making a difference.
Let me suggest one organization with which you might not be familiar. Anysoldier.com is a Web site that lists military personnel who are far from home. Those personnel have listed some of the things they would like to have that would make their time away from home a little easier. Surf the site, select a soldier, sailor, marine, or airman serving in any of a number of countries far from home and send them a package. I´ve been corresponding for about seven or eight months with a sergeant from the Mississippi National Guard stationed in Iraq. I´ve sent three or four packages over that time, which, he tells me, have been greatly appreciated.
Regardless of how you feel about the Iraq war, these men and women are in harm´s way when they would rather be home with their families. Perhaps one of your employee´s has a family member or friend serving in the military far from home. What about asking your employees to contribute items to a box and send it to him or her. Your business can pay for the postage. (It generally costs me about $17 to mail a medium size box to an APO.)
People like to refer to this time of year as, "the season of giving." Again, even a small gift of time, money, or something else can make a big difference in someone´s life. Or even save a life. Or two. Or more.
In addition to the organizations mentioned above, here are some others that would appreciate a donation of time or money
American Cancer Society
American Red Cross
Big Brothers Big Sisters
March of Dimes
Muscular Dystrophy Association
Your local blood bank (blood is in very short supply during the holiday season)
Your local toy drive
Your local battered women´s shelter
And many may more"?¦
Note: You should be interested in how these organizations spend the money they receive. One resource is the Better Business Bureau.
Happy Thanksgiving! I´m going to enjoy the holiday with my family. I´ll post again on Monday, November 28.
"God Bless Us, Every One!
–Tiny Tim in Dickens´, A Christmas Carol