Why Do You Give?
Why do you give? This is a question I ask myself a lot. My reasons have changed over the years. In the beginning, I understood that giving felt good, but I also knew it was “good for business.” As time has moved on, and I see more and more people giving and starting organizations I wonder what the motivation is. I am calling myself out as much as anyone else, especially because I own a marketing and PR company. We used to tell people – you have to be philanthropically involved in your communities because it’s the right thing to do – but what did I mean when I said that? I meant, at the time, that it was the right thing to do for business.
Over the last two years, I’ve been on a journey to take all transactional relationships out of my life. What does that mean, exactly? It means that when I do anything, for anybody, I have no expectation of a return of anything – not even goodwill. I give of myself because I want to, not because I have to, not because I feel pressure from some outside force, but because I genuinely want to do it. This goes for helping people work through business problems, going the extra mile for a friend and yes, even in my philanthropic giving. I don’t do anything for any other reason than I want to, and when that happens, when the expectation of return truly, TRULY doesn’t come into my consciousness, then I know I’m leading a non-transactional life.
Now, I know there will be people who say, “If I work and don’t get paid, I can’t live. I have to keep that transactional part of my life.” Let me instead propose, “What if you did what you loved every single day, and never expected anything in return?” It is possible and I know tons of people with a side hustle who are doing just that. When I first started my PR company, I used to do PR for anyone for free. The first year I made $200,000. My father always told me to do the job I want, not the job I have, and I can tell you it’s served me well.
I watched a news show last night. The people profiled are trying to restore the climate north of Siberia. These people have no money, but they feel this mission is important. Guess what? They said that secret philanthropists send them anonymous checks that keep them going. Did you know Frank Sinatra used to read the paper every day and when he saw stories of disasters in Palm Springs, such as a house burning down, he would send the owner a check – always anonymously.
So now I’ve gone and built a giving organization. I’ve done a terrible job of letting the public know that we don’t make any profit from our main products, as the profits go directly to the charity which helps women in crisis. Does it matter? I can see now that without this information, the company and its philanthropic giving could be seen as a marketing ploy. The truth is that I wanted to start a nonprofit without having to “raise money” all the time by having events or asking for donations and I thought providing a superior product in the marketplace that gives back would be a great way to fund this initiative. But maybe I’m too involved. I wrapped this charity around MY why – but maybe that wasn’t the answer? My why is that I never want another mother to go through what I went through when I was in the process of being diagnosed with a chronic pain disease, but alas, the more I grow the more I realize that it’s not about me. It’s about the women we can help. And that’s why I give. I give my time and I’ve given my money to create an environment that will assist a certain group that resonates with me. Maybe this organization should be more about their why. Which leads me to ask all of the amazing people who have read this far…. why do you give? I’d love to hear the answers.