How Leaders Can Give Back

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost November and the holiday season will soon be upon us. The holidays are a wonderful time to connect with friends and families and reflect on the year and prepare for the year ahead. But the holiday season also serves as a reminder of the importance of giving back both to our communities and those around us.

Think you’re too busy?

Our schedules are hectic and it’s hard to imagine fitting in anything else. But did you know that according to a study by Cone Communications and Echo Research, 82% of consumers consider Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) when buying products and services? CSR isn’t just something that happens in a vacuum, it requires individuals and leaders to commit to it. In addition to the benefits to your organization, giving back can benefit you too. Volunteering can increase happiness and decrease rates of depression. But how can you make it work?

  • Choose something that’s important to you, so it feels less like an obligation and more like an opportunity.
  • Schedule volunteering in advance on your calendar just as you would any important meeting.
  • Optimize your time by bringing your family or making it a work event (volunteer opportunities can make employees more engaged and even help with skill development).

The difference leaders can make in the community

There are so many ways to get involved; with some need in every community, you don’t have to look very far. But first, it’s important to consider how your unique skills as a leader can be utilized. For example, you could provide job mentoring, speak at a local school, or help a nonprofit to instill good managerial practices to keep them better organized, more productive, and efficient.

Leaders also often have the benefit of a large network. While you can reach out to your network for fundraising efforts, you can also recruit more volunteers or help to connect organizations with the right people or services. Got an accountant friend who can help an organization with their bookkeeping or a brother-in-law in communications who can help build a social media campaign? These connections can make a big difference for a nonprofit, which may have limited resources.

Giving back to those around us

In addition to giving back to the community, this time of year is a good time to give back to the people who have helped us throughout the year. For your employees, this can be as simple as a note of thanks. Try handwritten notes with specific details about how they have helped. Another way to give back to employees is by offering one on one mentoring sessions. Your knowledge and experiences are meaningful assets to up and coming employees. Just like with nonprofits, you can also help your employees to connect with others in your network. These connections can help them to grow their career or develop their skills.

While this may be the season for giving, let it really serve as a jumping off point for giving back all year round. Leaders are positioned to provide unique benefits to their communities and those around them, so find something important to you and get started!