Contributing to Your Community

A great American once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Any guesses on exactly which influential American this was?

Most of you probably know that this was none other than Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and we’re sure that all of you can agree that this man continues to be one of the biggest human rights inspirations to date.

Dr. King’s legacy is continually celebrated on the third Monday of each January as we’re all encouraged to devote that day to serving others. While MLK Day 2013 has come and gone, giving back certainly does not stop there. Service is most often associated with volunteering time or donating money, yet there are creative ways for you and your business to get involved.

For many in business, the combination of community-centered thinking, rapidly progressing technology and innovation is doing more than simply underscoring the bottom line. For everyone from small-business owners and entrepreneurs to MBAs and CEOs, companies and individuals are using their high-quality assets to drive outside-the-box tactics for contributing to their communities. Examples include:

Corporate Volunteerism — Company-funded volunteer programs can address the local area’s most acute needs while simultaneously improving employee engagement, often in the form of skills-based volunteering.

Skills-Based Volunteerism — Sometimes the most valuable thing a businessperson can contribute is talent and expertise. Once you pinpoint the most pressing local needs and the unique talents and skills you possess, you can make a powerful impact by volunteering those services.

Those services could involve marketing, accounting or real estate development. Maybe it’s licensed medical skills? Perhaps you have a robust background in strategic planning? Whatever it is, consider donating it to a community-focused group that is working toward attainable progress. 

Utilizing Technology — Online giving rose by 11 percent last year according to the 2012 Charitable Giving Report, and not all of that was strictly from donation buttons and such. The internet is spawning mutually beneficial contribution tools left and right. For instance, Social Good Network gives online shoppers the opportunity to make everyday selections at normal prices, but directs a small amount of each purchase to the participating nonprofit group of their choice.

These creatively established donation options are great, but by no means do they render old-school techniques moot. You can still help spearhead significant change by good old-fashioned service or contributions; however, you can use technology to spread the good news through social mediums and elsewhere.

A positive byproduct of your social media foray could be renewed connections from the David Eccles School of Business at University of Utah. Those reignited relationships undoubtedly will facilitate business networking opportunities that blossom into additional ideas for volunteerism. 

Getting involved with our Alumni Association is the perfect way to give back to the school, the community or any organization that you want to reach out to. 

Don’t let service start and stop on the third Monday of January, make volunteerism a part of your life and company culture. At the David Eccles School of Business, we’ve found that giving back is definitely not just “business as usual.”

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