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April 2014 - Generosity Gameplan™

volunteer service man with hammer


To me, volunteering is time and talent bundled together – often charitable but not often generous. Why is that?

Probably because we are stuck in this notion that service to others is good and the more we do, the better we are.

In fact, service is so good that we’ve made it a graduation requirement for most high schools. Mandatory service? Somehow, this does not square up with generosity to me.

When we make students volunteer, the experience can be great for building character and skills. I’m sure these kids are making a difference.

But are we also teaching them to see volunteering as a chore they have to squeeze into a very busy time of their lives?

Recently, I was with a couple who resigned from all boards and committees that do not match their hearts’ desire.  There were twelve resignations between them.

Amazed at the newfound time and energy, they doubled down on the two volunteer opportunities where they could do what they are good at. She was singing and playing a piano with and for special needs kids, and he was hammering, nailing and making sawdust with Habitat for Humanity.

Now that’s spending strengths rather than trading time and talent!

My hope is that more of us will see volunteering as an invitation, not an obligation. And we can freely accept that invitation when it matches our strengths and our desire to change the world.

Have you explored your strengths and your heart’s desire around generosity? My book, Connected for Good: A Gameplan for a Generous Life, will show you how.

My friend Scott has had a brilliant business career. Now he has turned his attention toward his extraordinary Generosity Gameplan with clarity and confidence.

Scott is spending it all on building a technology platform for anyone interested in helping others grow. The platform is complicated on the back end but quite simple on the front end.

You see, anyone who is trying to help another person grow—a therapist or a pastor, for instance—has gaps between face-to-face times with those he or she is helping. The mobile digital platform Scott is building helps these champions close the gaps with personally relevant content that leads to faster, more effective personal growth.

Each champion has self-interest in helping, a method of helping, and a group of people for whom he or she is the expert. The marketplace teaches us to defend our uniqueness, and under normal conditions that would keep these champions from joining Scott.

But Scott’s posture is different — his only mission is to serve champions. He believes that if his platform helps champions do what they already want to do, a torrent of collaboration and wellness will be unleashed.

At first, Scott’s gameplan is met with suspicion. How can a profit-making enterprise have a world-changing social mission? It turns out that how you build an enterprise and why you build it is more important than what kind of enterprise it is. Transparency, a deep longing for rich relationships, and allowing for mutual self-interest is attractive to others who see the power of his platform.

Like you, perhaps, I have been bringing people together and saying things like, “If you want to change the world, leave your ego and logo at the door and let’s collaborate.” Scott is teaching me that it’s human nature for people to meet their own self-interest.

If we can organize ourselves in ways that allow room for self-interest, then collaboration can be enabled as a powerful outcome and not a sacrifice.

Getting clarity and confidence on why you want to be generous, the currencies you have to spend, and the resources you have to give are the benefits of a Generosity Gameplan. Scott is spending himself and allowing others to do the same. World changing will be the result.

Maybe we don’t always have to leave our egos and logos at the door. I wonder, do you see a place for self-interest in generous endeavors?

Wondering how to get starting with your own mission-based project like Scott? Subscribe and you’ll receive my 7 Steps to Connected Generosity email course.