Three ways to embrace authentic philanthropy into your own business.
Philanthropy and the concept of ‘giving back’ has become such a buzzword in business circles, that it has almost lost its meaning entirely. Throw in a healthy dose of greenwashing – where corporates make unsubstantiated or misleading claims about the environmental benefits of their services or products – and it muddies the water even further.
As a result, it can be hard for small businesses to know where to start when it comes to authentically embracing your social conscious in a work setting.
As a business owner of more than 15 years, I completely relate to this struggle. It’s taken me a long time to reach a point where I lead a purpose-led life in every sense of the word – but trust me when I say, it’s worth doing the work.
Doing well by doing good
Craig Newmark, founder of the online classifieds platform Craigslist, adopted a highly successful business model: doing well by doing good.
“No one needs a billion dollars… [so it’s about] taking less and giving more,” he explains of his approach.
This is a philosophy I wholeheartedly agree with, and it doesn’t just relate to money.
For instance, in my own journey, I began my first mortgage broking business a little over 15 years ago. My purpose with my clients is to help them fund their homes, their dreams, their business and their investment. Yes, I am earning a good living from running this business – but that’s not what drives me to wake up each day, throw the sheets back and jump out of bed with energy and excitement to meet the day.
No, my purpose and drive runs much deeper than that. Because I’m not just arranging finance; I’m also helping them to facilitate their dreams and goals. My team and I have a commitment to provide classic service, which means our clients are dealing with real people, not a robot. I’m able to effect positive change in people’s lives and for that, I am very grateful.
In my mentoring business, my purpose is to help new industry brokers navigate their way forward with more clarity, direction and guidance, so they feel supported when stepping out into the great unknown.
More recently, I’ve partnered with the Human Kind Project and its partner, The Hunger Project, which has allowed me to step into my purpose and supercharge my commitment to philanthropy in a much bigger way.
As a foundation, the purpose of the Human Kind Project is to be “an organisation fixed on a purpose beyond profit”. It’s a business that purely exists to do good, by facilitating the betterment of communities – here and overseas. Working with the Human Kind Project, I’ve fundraised six-figures to empower impoverished communities throughout Africa since 2015, and I have a big, bold goal to reach $200,000 worth of fundraising by 2020.
Working with these charities and stepping even more deeply into my purpose has been a hugely profound experience for me, as it amplifies my drive and encourages me to try harder, be better and dream bigger.
So, what can you do to embrace authentic philanthropy into your own business? Here are three ways:
1. Get clear on your values
Whatever your brand, business or service offering is, you need to have a core understanding of your values. When you’re clear on what matters most to you, you can align your philanthropic goals to the same. For me, I am most passionate about financial education, so it made sense to partner with a charity that empowers disadvantaged communities through microfinance.
2. Develop a ‘giving’ strategy
We can’t all contribute to every single cause we come across, but we can develop a strategy or policy around giving that guides us forward. What issues do you want to tackle and why? What form will the philanthropy take: A percentage of profits? A fixed-amount per client SOA? Fundraising as a separate entity? Supporting the Future2 Foundation? What are your long-term social goals, and how does that fit into your business’s core values?
3.Consider your non-cash offering
There are so many ways you can offer value, such as: contributing your time and expertise as a mentor; presenting career guidance to new school leavers; taking on young people in transition to work programs; volunteering for causes that resonate; allowing your team to take paid days of leave to volunteer; hosting or staging fundraising events, from small-scale morning teas to large gala balls.
Giving back doesn’t have to be a pure money play, so look for the opportunities to embrace philanthropy in your own personal way.
Nancy Youssef is an award-winning finance broker, mentor, philanthropist, and founder of Classic Finance and Classic Mentoring. Recognised as a leader, innovator and industry expert, she is an ambassador for change both within the Australian finance industry and in some of the world’s most impoverished communities. Nancy is the author of Fear Money Purpose, which is designed to inspire others – women especially – to step out of their comfort zone and be inspired to achieve more.