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What to Give… And Who to Give It To

What to Give… And Who to Give It To

Before I get into this weeks post I wanted to update some of you on my quest to return to run the Boston Marathon. I mentioned in many presentations this spring that I would like to return to Boston and run the marathon with my wife. I managed to reach my qualifying time in the Vancouver Marathon in May so all we needed was for my wife Alexandra to attain her qualifying time at the Edmonton Marathon this past weekend. Well I am happy to report she did just that, running the race in 3:25, a full 10 minutes under her qualifying cut-off time!! Now we wait until mid September to see if our registration is accepted.

Alexandra Stratton

© Siubhan Drinna

As a leader, you are concerned about making a positive impact on the world around you. You may struggle with how to make the most significant impact while having a minimal effect on your top priorities and responsibilities. The good news is your community needs you! But how do you decide when, whom to give to, and in what way?

When to Give:

Don’t think about ‘when I should give’ but rather ‘how much I can give’ in both time and money. Charities and non-profit organizations need your help (usually) no matter how little you can give. So, I am always trying to give to causes in some capacity no matter how little I can give at the time. If you wait until the day you have significant excess free time or disposable money, you just may never give. In actual fact, giving can help you get these things sooner than most. It is fine that the amount you can give fluctuates from year to year based on your resources and priorities. The most important part is you give.

There are three levels of giving:

  1. Give money (lowest commitment)
  2. Give time
  3. Give leadership
Shawn Stratton

© Howard Lake

There is a good chance over the years you have been asked to help out a charity of some sort. They usually want your money because it is the way of bothering you the least and well frankly they need your money to operate and support their cause. Sometimes, if they are bold they will ask for your time, which is often more valuable than your money (you can’t make back time). If you want to make the most significant impact to the cause and your own life, donate your leadership by joining a board, a committee, subcommittee, or a campaign, etc.

Whom to Give To:

Giving back is a sacrifice and there are many other (and often more pleasurable) ways to spend your hard-earned time or money. When you pick which cause to support it should have a significant meaning for you. The top three things I think about before donating my time or money to a cause are:

  • Am I passionate about the cause?
  • Are my resources being used effectively?
  • Can my talents or resource make a significant impact?
Shawn Sratton

© Daniel Thornton

In the article How to Decide Which Charity to Support, the author details a comprehensive list of 28 different considerations to think about before supporting a charity.

How do you use your leadership to give back? I would love to hear. Let me know in the comments below.

Think about whom you have raised money for in the past. Perhaps, it is time to step up your commitment and donate your time or even better, your leadership.

Until next week… Embrace the Adventure!


Shawn Stratton is an international leadership and team building consultant, professional speaker, bestselling author, Ironman competitor, expedition guide and podcast host.

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