When you own a business, have a successful blog and 4000+ followers on Twitter, folks ask you for help with their causes. The “asks” for help come in many forms but most often as direct messages or @ messages on Twitter asking to contribute and spread the word. While none of the requests are ignored, I can only act upon and respond to a small percentage.
During a recent Twitter conversation I said, “While I’ve faced financial challenges in my life, I’ve never been poor.” As tough as things have gotten in my life, I’ve never had to wonder how I’d get my next meal. Providing food for people who need it is a priority for me.
Cancer has touched my family way too many times. I lost my dad to the disease a few years ago. I lost a friend when she was under 30 and we were slightly older. It takes cancer a long time to kill a healthy young body and it’s not fun to watch. I give my time and money to cancer causes whenever and however I can.
I like small charities. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the big charities, I just like to know where my money is going. I prefer to give to small, local and focused causes. If I know the people working for the charity, it’s even better. I want the time, effort and money to go to the people that need it; not to the executive director big house in the suburbs. Imagine that. I’m a small business owner who prefers to support small charities.
Money – This is the easy one. Click here, enter credit card info, click submit and I’m all done. It’s also the easy way out. Don’t get me wrong. Charities need money so I give when I can.
Time – Charities need volunteers too. Recently, Shelby and I created a live version of our She Said, He Said project and donated all the proceeds to the local branch of one of those big charities I said I prefer to avoid. I didn’t have a problem with that because it had a local connection. We didn’t raise thousands of dollars, but that’s the whole point of focusing on small and local organizations. If we all did, the hundreds would quickly add up to thousands.
Spread the Word – I can share the causes I choose to support with my growing online community. That could take the form of a Tweet, Facebook status update or even a mention in a blog post. While this one seems easy, it’s actually the most difficult. You’re asking me to interrupt my audience’s day to promote your cause. Their trust in me and my integrity are on the line.
That brings us to today’s request
My graphic arts friends at Mail Print, Inc. reached out to me on Twitter and asked for help spreading the word about their Set An Extra Plate initiative to help feed folks in their hometown region of Kansas City. Here’s folks from my industry asking for help to provide food to those who can’t afford it. That resonates with me so, my request is that you help spread the word. If you can click on the link above and donate a few dollars, that’s great too. They match the funds so everything we give gets doubled up to $6,000 as far as I can tell.
Have a Happy New Year and be safe. I’ll be back on January 2, 2012, with my 3-word plan for the year. See you then.