Creating Change in Your Community

In some capacity or another, many of us have a desire to give back to our community. As the CEO and founder of a fundraising and event management firm, EO New York member Darren Port leveraged his own desire to give back by developing a successful business and enabling others to make an impact. What he learned in the process is that making charitable work a part of our lives is not as challenging as we might think. Here are some ideas from Darren, so we can get involved in our communities:

1. Serve on a non-profit board: Let your business skills and experience make you an asset to a nonprofit by becoming a board member. Being a board member is a great leadership opportunity that enables you to put your expertise to good use. It also affords you a chance to develop relationships with other passionate individuals, leading to potential partnerships.

2. Become a charity partner: Any charity that hosts a fundraising event, no matter the size, is in need of product or service donations. Develop a mutually beneficial relationship by partnering with a charity, and receive acknowledgement and good publicity in return for your contributions.

3. Encourage employee volunteerism: Support an organization that has meaning to you, and motivate your employees to do the same. Consider giving employees one day per quarter to volunteer with a charity of their choice. You can also assign a service-minded individual the role of organizing projects so employees can volunteer together, thus combining company bonding with giving back.

4. Attend a local charity event: Purchase a ticket to a fundraising gala in your community. It’s a great way to learn how the host organization is making a difference in the region. Many industries have specific charities they support, enabling you to network with other industry professionals.

5. Start your own charity: Starting your own charity is the most powerful way to impact a cause you are passionate about, and it’s similar to starting a business. Not only does it present an opportunity to improve the direction of a cause or issue, but you can build a team that supports you and your mission.

As busy entrepreneurs, it can be difficult to find the time and appropriate outlet to give back to your community. In my experience, associating with something you’re passionate about and determining how involved you want to be are the first steps to making a difference— not only in the lives of others, but in your own life, as well.

Darren Port is the President of Powered by Professionals. E-mail Darren at darren@poweredbyprofessionals.com. This article was previously published in the March 2011 issue of Octane magazine.

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