When I set up in business my primary goal was to replace the salary I earned when employed. I remember wanting to support causes too but thought I had to make my business sustainable first. Until I started raising funds through my business for my regular humanitarian trips to Rwanda. That’s when I discovered the opposite is true – that supporting causes and focussing on impact is a rewarding and powerful way to GROW a business.
I’ve found that when you connect and reach out to others, with unconditional love, kindness, and compassion in your heart, you not only help others, you grow as a person and so does your business–when you link your giving, impact and business goals. I share more about this in my best-selling book Give to Profit: How to Grow Your Business by Supporting Charities & Social Causes. You can also watch me share this part of my story in my TEDx Talk Isn’t Business a Great Opportunity to be Kind?
You see when you embed giving and impact strategies into your business and everyday life, you don’t need to wait to give back to make a difference. You can have a positive social and environmental impact every day. I discuss this more in my blog Stop Giving Back #JustGiveNow.
Over five years from 2009 I made regular humanitarian trips to Rwanda to help young genocide survivors and raised over £100,000 ($125,000) for this project.
We’ve had an international award-winning Holywood-produced film, made about our work in Rwanda – When I Was Young I Said I Would be Happy. You can check out the charity I go to Rwanda with and the film HERE.
I no longer believe it’s appropriate for people with white privilege to volunteer overseas in most situations (other than for humanitarian efforts or at the request of an overseas agency) as I explain in my blog Let’s Stop Being White Saviours.
So in 2018, I started leading groups of people who raise funds to sponsor schools in Asia, with the incredible charity Classroom of Hope.
In 2018/19 twelve entrepreneurs raised over £38,000 to build this school in Cambodia. It was so rewarding to support the team in raising the funds and to have built a school that will have a positive impact on the lives of children and a whole community for years to come. Check out this school fundraising project HERE.
Then during the Covid pandemic, I lead a team of ten wonderful women who raised £28,000 to sponsor the world’s second earthquake-resistant school made out of recycled plastic blocks. Check out this project HERE.
While I support several local causes, the main one I support is Social Bite which is making great progress in tackling homelessness in Scotland and beyond. I regularly make donations to them, source catering from them for events, and spent a freezing cold night one December camping out with 6,000 other people to raise funds to build accommodation for homeless people. I also volunteer locally.
See below for further details of how I support causes and commit to having a positive social and environmental impact below.
As I discuss in my Give-to-Profit book, there is a difference between contribution (what we raise, do, or give) and the impact we have. So for example fundraising is a very worthwhile activity but only if the funds are invested or donated wisely. Likewise, not everyone who reads a book or attends an event is going to take action as a direct consequence.
While it can be difficult to determine the full scale of impact we have, my intention is to have a positive social impact in line with the UN Global Sustainability Development Goals. Particularly those relating to tackling poverty (1), providing quality education (4), and through partnerships (17).
One measure of my impact is the results my clients get through implementing what I teach (books, course, videos, blogs interviews, podcasts, talks, and courses) and client sessions. I measure my impact on clients through regular customer surveys and also collect feedback and testimonials.
As of June 2022, the number of lives improved as a direct consequence of my work, volunteering and fundraising is estimated to be at least 85,000 (of my 100,000 goal).
I also make regular donations to causes each time certain activities happen in my business. An excellent organization to do this through is B1G1 (check them out HERE). I met my main charity partners through B1G1.