On Monday, Marie and I drove to NYC to attend the SAY (www.SAY.org) (Stuttering Association for The Young) Gala that benefits kids who stutter. Having had firsthand experience as a kid who stuttered (and sometimes still do) I know how it feels to be made fun of, bullied and ostracized because I was “different.”
In fact, I was so scared to talk that even though I knew the answer in class, I refused to answer for fear of being laughed at. It wasn’t until college that I became brave enough to speak out and find my voice. Our support for this organization, since 2002, has been total and consistent.
When I tell clients about my involvement in this organization, I am often surprised that they willingly want to write a check to support it. When I ask them why, I hear answers like, ‘Well Fred, I think it sounds like an organization that’s trying to help kids and I’d like to make a contribution;” “I am amazed that you were a stutterer and today you were our speaker, so SAY sounds like it can help other people as well.”
“Awesome” I say in my mind.
Many of the people who support SAY contribute because they have a child or loved one or they themselves stutter or were a stutterer. This year, our honoree was Bill Withers, the singer and writer of such songs as “Lean on Me,” Aint No Sunshine” and “Use Me.”
I guess I relate to “Lean on Me” more than Bill’s other songs… which brings me to the point of this blog.
Our business needs to make a profit to be sustainable. It could be argued that profiting is the only function of business. However; businesses that are really growing have added one key element to their business model.
It’s called “meaning,”
Companies like Zappos, Airbnb, Patagonia or Bombas that put meaning and community at the center of their business model are attracting more eyeballs and more dollars, (especially among the 82 million Millenniums out there) just like my clients who contribute to SAY.
Profits are always good, but adding “meaning” to your business can make it even more productive…and profitable
We have never had more power to take ownership of the present or to shape the future than we do today. We can start by figuring out what we intend to make besides money.
You will be amazed at the results you will get from your current followers and from new people that will see the “meaning” you have attached to your business.
Here are some other charities I am involved with if you need a place to start:
- www.bvl.org Bowling’s oldest charity that for more than 75 years has provided recreational therapy to disabled vets
- www.humanesociety.org Animal rescue and care
- www.bowery.org a local NYC homeless shelter. (Surely there’s one in your town)
- www.nationalpal.org The Police Athletic league exists to aid in the preventing of juvenile crime and violence by providing mentorship, civic/service, athletic, recreational, enrichment and educational opportunities