It is so wonderful to see individuals and communities rally around the spirit of giving at a time when so much of the culture is focused on what we can purchase for ourselves. That’s why joining next week’s #GivingTuesday movement can be so rewarding for an individual, community, or company. Let’s examine why:
Irrespective of which industry we work in, human beings have an innate desire to find meaning for themselves in their own lives. Culture, through various media and content, guides our search for meaning in various directions. Some point towards money, some point towards fame, and some point to being important in some relation to others. Yet, as many of us discover (often too late in life), the fulfillment we seek can be found through our contribution to others. It’s only when we give ourselves that we give our lives meaning. In the absence of this realization, too many people spend much of their lives seeking to draw attention to themselves which never fills that nagging void to be meaningful in relation others on this planet.
Whether you’re a start-up, entrepreneur or large corporation, each entity now finds itself challenged by the new demands of the social business marketplace. First among these are new consumer expectations looking to the private sector to play a more powerful role in finding solutions to the social crises that affect all our lives. Each of these crises are threatening in their own right, but they are terrifying when they compound. These crises include: obesity, healthcare, loss of biodiversity, climate change, childhood mortality, disease, and the list goes on. As such, no matter their size, the smartest companies are rising to this challenge by bringing their mission and core values to life through their marketing in order to ensure they are relevant and meaningful to their customers’ lives. One may only look at the powerful examples of IBM’s “Smarter Planet”, Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy This Jacket”, and Nike’s “Better World” to realize the top marketers in the world have now recognized the importance of contribution to their reputation, employee productivity, and customer loyalty.
The challenges humanity faces is to meet these compounding social crises with equal force. Time is now more limited than ever, especially when you consider the rising global population and its knock-on effects to all aspects of society. As such, many individuals, organizations, and corporations have embraced the realization that we are far stronger together than we are alone. These crises demand our collective focus and efforts if we’re to truly make a dent in the expansive challenges we face as a species and a planet.
#GivingTuesday is an incredibly powerful expression of these key realizations. Its promise is not just the immediate satisfaction ofmaking a contribution to others and participating in a collective effort which rewards you with a sense of community, but also that you get to witness the scale of social impact that a collected effort alone can achieve.
For these reasons, #GivingTuesday stands as a monument to the personal, professional, and global benefits to the individual by complimenting their own healthy self-interest with service to the collective good. The program gives each many options to participate, whether it’s as a social media ambassador, a donor, or a volunteer in support of one of the non-profits to benefit from this day of giving.
Each of us has something we care about and #GivingTuesday is our opportunity to bring our best selves to bear on the change we know is needed in our world and we encourage everyone to participate and reach out to others so that we can truly discover the personal benefits of working together.
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Simon Mainwaring is the founder of We First, a leading brand consultancy that provides purpose-driven strategy, content, and training that empowers companies to lead business, shape culture, and better our world.