There is something about the holiday season that inspires people to focus more on kindness. One of the subtlest movements towards kindness comes from a new trend to donate to charitable causes, rather than sending Christmas cards and gifts. This is an ideal way for both businesses and individuals to stay true to their values and philanthropic goals, but doing so can be a huge drain at an already expensive time of year.
The solution might be to create a plan to reach out year-round. The benefits are that it will lessen the burden of one lump sum out of the budget, provide an opportunity to reflect on what means most to you and your business, and create an attitude of giving throughout the year. To that end, the first step is to select causes that resonate. Sometimes this is directly tied to your industry and will be easy. For example, if you’re a veterinarian, you may make a donation to the local animal shelter. However, it is perfectly acceptable to choose the Canadian Cancer Society if you have lost a loved one to this disease.
Secondly, set an annual budget for your charitable donations. Doing this empowers you to stick to it, rather than getting caught up in every cause out there. I like to add in ‘miscellaneous’ causes to support friends and family that might be raising money for a good cause that I can’t plan ahead for.
Lastly, set a schedule of when you donate the money. If the first quarter of every year is a more profitable time for you then it is sensible to donate more at that time.
During this holiday season, why not spend a few minutes reflecting on the causes that mean the most to you, and planning how you will make an impact in 2012? As Helen Keller said, “Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”
What is your worthy purpose?
Cathy Goddard is Principal of Lighthouse Visionary Strategies (www.lighthousevisionary.com). Lighthouse offers small business consulting, mentor programs and workshops. Cathy can be reached at email@example.com or 604.905.8660.