In my experience, the marketing community is the most influential tribe of all. We have the know-how to create shifts in people’s behavior. We have the power to change how people will spend their time and money, and what trends they’re going to follow.
Some of us are fortunate to spend most of our time helping brands that have a positive impact on the world, and we feel a profound sense of satisfaction about how we apply our marketing talents. But I’ve had conversations with marketing partners who are craving to be part of something bigger; often, their client work doesn’t provide the “soul-searching” opportunities they want. This is where volunteering can come in — you can choose how to support the causes you care about most.
There are a number of reasons to donate your (and your team’s) time:
1. You may feel a tremendous sense of gratification by working toward a meaningful purpose and making a difference.
2. You may feel a sense of belonging with like-minded individuals who are driven by a mission that you believe is an important one.
3. You can make new friends and connections that can help you in your personal development and professional life.
4. You can learn and discover new ideas and opportunities that will make you smile more often.
5. You can bond with your team by collaborating on a project that makes a positive change.
Over the last few years, my team and I have rolled up our sleeves to support two groups that make a difference on both a local and a global scale:
1. The Ship of Tolerance: This project teaches children across the globe about racial, cultural and identity tolerance through art. We helped the Ship of Tolerance with its Chicago initiative this year by managing social media activities and securing partnerships for support. One of the reasons I said yes to donating my team’s time to this project is because the mission aligns with my core belief that by learning tolerance, we can build bridges toward unity. We also got a pump of excitement from knowing that we were making an impact on the growing minds of future visionaries.
2. The World Innovation Network (TWIN): We’ve been providing marketing support to TWIN, a community of leaders with a purpose from around the world, since 2016. We help create online conversations about important topics like health and wellness, climate change, sustainability and what the future will look like. This initiative inspires my team and me to be the best we can be personally and professionally.
Here’s how we choose our partners, and how you, too, can work with organizations to create meaningful change.
How We Choose Our Partners
We dedicate our efforts to community projects that positively impact lives today and tomorrow. When we’re considering partners, we look at three dimensions of their impact:
1. Are they able to drive short-term behavioral changes that enable people to make positive transformations on a personal level? We look for organizations that focus on changing people’s behavior by addressing mental, emotional and physical well-being while promoting unity.
2. What is the power and scale of their impact? We like to work with thought leaders who are innovating to make a real positive difference on a global scale.
3. Is this a good partnership? Can we make a measurable contribution to help the organization do more good?
Asking questions like these can help you find an organization that represents a tribe of people who you and your team would like to align with.
How To Help Create Meaningful Change
When a nonprofit organization needs a marketing boost, usually they know what needs to be done and sometimes they know how to do it. Some organizations are equipped with support from the board of directors and an army of volunteers, and some organizations are just getting started and can use any help you can give them.
So how can you make the best use of your time serving an organization?
• Find the right fit. First, figure out what your personal strengths and your team’s strengths are and align yourself with areas within the organization where you can effectively help.
• Communicate. Set clear expectations for how you’ll be able to benefit an organization and deliver a plan for how you and your team will participate.
• Deliver on time. Follow up on your promises for delivery, and do your best work.
• Be all-in. Shoot for a long-term partnership so you can truly immerse your team in the cause. Ask questions about strategy and the decision-making process so you can make continuous improvements, learn and grow in the areas where you need it most.
We’re experiencing a rapid transformation in all aspects of our lives: how we communicate, how we eat, how we date and what we truly value. The concept of “less is more” has never been so pertinent. People crave authentic experiences that stimulate real connections and emotions. Let’s look up and recognize the power that we as marketers have to create a positive shift. Let’s dedicate our time and talents to reducing suffering, unleashing creativity and giving each other a million reasons to smile.