I was walking through the grocery store this morning when I ran into one of my friends who is running a big fundraising event this evening. It’s an event for families who have been touched with Multiple Sclerosis. MS is a debilitating neurological disease that can cause patients great pain and loss of motor function as the disease progresses. Not only is it a horrible disease for the patient, but also for the caregivers who have to watch their loved ones go through the painful degenerative progression of the disease.
My friend and his group of high school friends witnessed this as one of their high school pals was stricken with MS. They decided to put together a big party with food and drinks and live music to raise money for this important cause. Over the past few years they have raised an astonishing amount of money.
This is just one example of the great generosity that people exhibit. Almost every weekend there is a benefit event of some sort that a group of people, who were touched by a person or event, organize to raise money for one of the many good causes. Dances, golf outings, Wiffle Ball tournaments, bike rides, walks, concerts and so many more creative ideas.
I have worked on or attended so many different and creative charity events, and I love to go and see the outpouring of kindness. A group of inspired people can achieve so many great things when they are motivated by a cause that they believe in.
For you, the benefits of being involved in charitable or community service events go far beyond just the great sense of satisfaction you get from being a part of a good thing. That being a part of a good thing is obviously the primary reason you joined up. And, it should remain so. I volunteer often, because I like being involved and because I believe in the cause. I donate often, because I am thankful for what I have and use my donations as a way to give thanks for all that I have. There are, however, some very positive unintended consequences of being involved in these type of events.
1. Networking – These big events don’t happen because of the efforts of one or two people. They usually involve lot of committed and caring individuals. By being involved, you get to expand your network and you get to expand it with a group of people who share at least one common interest with you – whatever it is that you are volunteering for. Your network is an enormously important tool that you carry with you for your whole life. The more good people in it, the better.
2. Visibility – When you are working hard at these events, people notice you. They see you putting in the extra effort or they see you sitting at the table texting away the day. It is up to you what you show them, but rest assured, they are noticing the good or the bad. If you own or manage a business, this visibility shows people what you and your business stands for. Wear your uniform. People like to do business with community minded organizations.
3. Impact – You are making a difference. Whether it is in the life of a family touched by something tragic or in your school or community. The world is full of enough bad things. Being involved in good things helps to push the bad away.
4. Leadership Opportunities – Take charge. These events are a great place for you to hone your leadership skills. Often no one will step up to lead. This is a perfect opportunity for you learn some lessons and expand your capabilities. Leadership is like anything else. You need to practice, practice, practice.
Like I said earlier. I like to donate both my time and my money to good causes. I am blessed by great friends and family and by a life where I have everything I need. The least I can do is to give back in thanks for all the greatness that surrounds my life. Whether you are individual or a business looking to get involved, there usually is very little downside to enjoying charity or community service work.