Giving Back in 2017

What a wonderful time of the year. The chill in the air, the glow of a warm fire in the fireplace, yummy smells filling the air and festive times spent with family and friends. Yet, with everything going on this time of year you must still remain focused on your business and its future. One way to do that is to remember that being a business owner also means fulfilling social responsibilities to those in the community. Without our clients we have no business so they are an essential part of our success. Being socially responsible as a business simply means not only doing business in the community, but actually caring about the people’s and communities’ needs. As we come to the end of the year, Alyssa and I thought it was a good time to look at our plans for 2017 and decide how we can positively invest in our community.

Last January I had the privilege to see some titans in my industry speak at a conference. One investor astounded me on his approach on charity contributions for his business. When he set down for his yearly business plan he didn’t base his decisions on business revenue goals but rather, “What is our goal amount to give to charities this year?”

Think about it for a minute … by taking the focus off yourself and your personal needs does it change your focus or drive?

Just like writing a business plan. Take time to put on paper what your goals are. Set your goals for a percentage of funds to donate or an amount of time to give. If you feel strongly about your cause, tell the world! Put your commitment on your business and personal websites, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Then set out to make your commitments a reality. Most importantly make sure to hold yourself accountable to your plans.

There are many websites you can research on the topic of giving. A great resource is http://www.charitynavigator.org because it allows you to search by topic such as “women charities” or a region such as “Minneapolis.” It also gives you tips for choosing a charity along with reporting on their expenses and what amount of your donation actually goes to the cause. As for Alyssa and I, we plan on starting our own charity in 2017. Our goal is to help those who can’t help themselves with home repairs. There are many homeowners who live on a fixed income, are elderly or are unable to complete repairs due to physical disabilities. We will use our contacts in the home renovation world and help them with basic repairs they may not be able to do themselves or can’t afford to do. We see needs all the time on home tours. It can be something as simple as doing some yard work, replacing a broken window or building a ramp for someone with mobility difficulties.

In January we will also physically and monetarily be supporting a local Minneapolis Charity, People Serving People. This is a home that provides acute emergency shelter to families with children in the downtown Minneapolis area. Please consider looking into them and potentially donating, their website is, https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/1433041

“People Serving People helps homeless and at-risk children and their families manage crisis situations and build a strong foundation for their long-term success.”

There are many opportunities available to you:

Volunteer – use your skills to provide for others’ needs without expecting anything in return. It shows your concern for issues and organizations personally important to you. Volunteer:

    • As a student mentor
    • At a homeless shelter
    • Feeding the hungry
    • Reading at a library

Philanthropy – if you don’t have time to donate, you can always help out by donating financially to local and national charities. As a business owner you have resources that can be used to benefit individuals, charities and/or community programs in your area. Give to:

    • A local charity that fulfills the needs of those in your community
    • An individual affected by a personal disaster
    • An animal organization
    • An environmental cause

DON’T BE A DABBLER!! The important thing is that you get involved in something you personally feel strongly about, take seriously and know you will genuinely commit to. Talk to your clients and find out their passions, what they think are the community’s greatest needs and select something that aligns with your abilities.

What do you get in return for giving back to your community? A feeling of pride, knowing you stepped up to help those in need without any thought of getting anything back in return. The satisfaction of knowing you have changed a person’s world with what could be the simplest of gestures. Just think if you have children what a great example you will be to them. No matter how you look at it, giving to the community isn’t just something that should be done during a holiday season but, something that should be done throughout the entire year.

Start your new year by taking the time to look around and see what YOU can do for your community then setup a plan for 2017 and make it happen!

Happy Holiday from our families to yours,

Monica Vnuk, Co author Linda Doggett

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