What are you so passionate about you'd give it away for free? There's never been a better time to launch a philanthropic initiative. With the current health and financial crisis, most of us now have some capacity to extend our services to vulnerable groups without the resources to pay. There are many people who'd appreciate the gift of your value.
My mother lost her job during the massive recession of the early 80s. A single mom, with two hungry teenage boys to raise, she did what she needed to do keep our family afloat: she started a business. Mortgage rates had spiked during those years, and many people were losing their homes. Despite this enormous challenge, my mom kept us in our home and kept us fed. My brother and I both got jobs to help out, but I don't remember even a single whiff of anxiety, financial insecurity or scarcity. And it wasn't because my mother didn't face epic financial challenges. She had to invent new ways of managing her debt like using cash advances from one credit card to pay the minimum payment from another. But she managed to shield her boys from all the stress of the crisis. And she did it alone. We grew up stronger as a result and more capable of heading into an uncertain world on our own.
Adversity launches many entrepreneurs.
Not surprisingly, I developed a soft spot for single mom entrepreneurs. As my success grew with the support of others, I began looking for a way to give back that went beyond writing a check. A few years into the Great Recession, I got my opportunity. One of my clients perished in a tragic plane crash. His spouse, who I'd been including in the coaching sessions, was now left with three small children to raise on her own. I helped her start a business and provided some of the moral support my mother never had when she was faced with similar prospects. Today, she is thriving and remarried to an amazing man who was a single dad and widower–another testament to the spirit and strength of the single mom.
Moral support helps people find ways through a crisis.
Entrepreneurship and single parenting are hard enough by themselves; dealing with both at the same time can be a strain. Last year I decided to soft launch the stepone program for single mom entrepreneurs. I channel a portion of my coaching resources to women with young families and growing businesses. Like my own mom, these ladies are strong and capable and working on worthwhile projects that improve the prosperity of not only their families but also their teams and their clients.
Some timely and mission-critical moral support can go a long way. My first lady successfully sold her health care business this past year, and is on a quest to launch her next venture. My new lady is in the personal growth and start-up space working to provide the support creative entrepreneurs need to get established in these very tough times.
You are the difference between someone's struggle and success.
I've been fortunate to have a number of significant mentors and coaches contribute to my personal and business growth over the years. I have much to contribute as a result. Strategic philanthropy means not just giving away my time and money to a worthy cause, but also doing something that is aligned with my own skills and values. I learn a lot from the people I support and they make good use of what I have to offer. Impact is its own reward. Plus I know my mom is proud of me. Even though I'm a grown-assed man, that still matters.
Offer your surplus to someone who could really use it.