Today we cover why volunteering and charitable giving can benefit both parties. Do you volunteer or give to charity as a charitable donation? Do you tell people about it, and if not why not? But also the more controversial issue of whether you should tell people. After all are you doing this for good or notoriety?
This is an episode in thought leadership and is intended to challenge you to think.
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Season 2 Episode 12 FAQ Business Podcast transcription | Volunteering and charitable giving
Volunteering and giving to charity, should you do it? And if you do, should you keep it quiet? After cutting my hair, and if you’re on the video you’ll definitely see what I mean, we did this to raise funds for Variety, the children’s charity. The Big Hair Chop
00:16 Donating hair to Variety children’s charity
Many people, including me, had looked up about donating hair and realised that I need to donate quite a lot, 35 and a half centimetres, 14 inches to be exact. And for many of us, that’s just too much, we don’t actually have enough and so we kind of go, that’s it, then we can’t do it. Or maybe your hair is dyed or maybe there’s a bit of grey in it and you think, I can’t give it to Variety.
But there are other options. The great thing is if you make people aware of the other options, then you might find that they actually do it. So I think by communicating this, it helps to make people aware of something they might not have known about and it also makes people think. Today on the podcast, I’m going to go into this in a bit more detail.
01:07 Welcome to the FAQ Business Podcast
Welcome to the FAQ Business Podcast for business owners, covering four pillars actionable, education, inspiring leaders, businesses like you, and thought leadership, where we challenge your thinking. Hosted by myself, Jane Tweedy. I’m founder and lead trainer of FAQ Business Training, where we want to avoid you getting ripped off or ripping yourself off. We’ll feature an amazing diversity of guests with lots to educate and inspire you. Let’s jump into today’s episode of the FAQ Business Podcast.
Hi there, I’m Jane Tweedy, I am the founder of FAQ Business Training and the host of FAQ Business Podcast. Here I am today again, oh my gosh, seriously, where has this year gone? It has been cray cray, but anyway, we will get back to normal programming fairly soon.
02:01 What does volunteering do for both parties?
However, something I’ve just done and something I wanted to talk about for a while is about volunteering. Today I just want to talk about what volunteering does for both parties and also importantly, whether or not you should be disclosing it because there’s a lot of debate around that. About are you just doing it to get notoriety kind of thing or are you doing it for some other purpose?
02:26 Volunteering helps fill a needs gap
Let’s talk first about what volunteering can do for the organisation and for you. So volunteering can help fill in needs gaps with organisations that couldn’t otherwise afford to keep going. And it really does allow their money to be spent in other, more critical areas.
It can help them bring in specialist expertise and it may be necessary legally. This is because some structures do require members and other people to be involved, which means that they are unlikely to be getting paid. What about for you? What’s in it for you? The WIIFM or what’s in it for me?
03:03 Volunteering can build your skills and work experience
You can use it to build your own skills, so it could be work or skills experience. Maybe you want a transition job and maybe you want to try something out. It can be an opportunity to do that. Some people do it purely for the social aspect to get out and about. Some definitely do it more for the straight giving back and the vibes that it gives you.
03:26 Builds community spirit
And also, particularly after natural disasters, we do see a lot of community spirits and camaraderie come out and people just really pitch in and get together and get things done. And unfortunately for some of the people in New South Wales that have just encountered their third flood in six weeks, that is exactly what they’re doing.
03:48 Connects with podcast S2 Ep07 Exposure doesn’t pay the bills
I saw a thing on the news and a guy had a tinny, a little motorised boat, and he was taking that around places and carting people around and things. And that sort of skill becomes useful and that sort of vehicle becomes useful when your roads are now rivers to some extent. Today’s podcast connects with the recent podcast I did on whether exposure pays the bills. It may pay in this case, though, more of a social or community spirit type card as well.
04:19 Remember volunteering does take up your time
But do remember that time taken volunteering does take up time. Time that you could be spending doing something else. And again, like anything else, we’ve just got to weigh things up.
In fact, somebody might have been a little bit horrified when they found out I was doing Max Potential again. But calm down a little when you realise that, okay, you don’t have to physically go there this time. Only have to go to four events the rest of them are all online.
And honestly, I couldn’t have signed up if it was in person. The extra commitment of travel, which would have been three hour round trip for like another dozen or so connections, just wasn’t going to work. So we’ve got to look at things and weigh things up for ourselves.
05:03 Volunteering versus charitable giving
So volunteering is one aspect. On the other side, we have just straight giving to charity. There’s a lot of reasons why we give funds to charity and that can be a good thing, right? If you can’t do anything or offering anything time wise or skill wise, then giving money can be a really good option. And obviously there’s plenty of things that money needs to buy. So giving money is a great way to also help.
05:27 Should you tell people when you give money or your time?
Should you tell people that you are donating money to a charity or that you are doing something to help out, you’re volunteering. There’s a lot of debate around this, and I’m just going to bring in some examples from the bushfire period back in 2020 because there was a lot of people copping a lot of slack in Australia about this particular thing.
05:50 There are strict rules when setting up fundraising
You might be familiar, if you’re from Australia, about the Celeste Barber fund appeal. She initially was only going for a very small, modest amount, $150,000 or something whatever it was, it was quite a small amount. But it went viral and it went off and her particular fundraising ended up raising over $50 million.
Unfortunately, we later found out that there were some issues with the funds were being delivered and how they could be delivered and that came in part due to misunderstandings about organisation’s requirements. And unfortunately, when you’re dealing with organisations that have some connection to government and things, there can be very strict rules on what they can and can’t do and whether they’re stupid or not, unfortunately, you have to abide by them.
06:40 There are people offering donations for personal gain
So there’s one thing there was that issue going on, but what was going on in the small business space is there were a lot of people that think, oh, I can use this to give funds to the bushfire victims, but there were also a lot of people that were using it to get personal gain.
06:58 Giving 10% of profits without disclosing the profit level
There were people doing things like, I’m going to give 10% of my profits to the bushfire charities. Sounds okay, right? But the thing is, they’re not disclosing is what actually is their profit level, if any. Because if they’re not actually making any profit, all they’re doing is increasing their sales and they are effectively giving nothing to charity.
07:25 Others were offering $1 per sale which is much more honest
Other people were being much more upfront and honest about it, and they were saying, right, for everything we sell, we will give a dollar to charity. So that way there’s no communication miscommunication, there’s no issues you literally just go, okay, you’ve bought an item, a dollar goes to that charity. Much better way of doing it than things like a percentage of profits when it can be a bit misleading.
07:50 Offering to donate for every like received for personal advantage
Another one that I saw that really got qualified was for personal gain type reasons was that she was manipulating the algorithms effectively in social media. And so she said that she would donate a dollar to the Bushfire Appeal for every like that she got. Of course, that’s encouraging people to go like her business, share her business, get more likes and things, which of course, then if she has a social media strategy attached to that could have been done for reasons that were more for personal advantage than they were to genuinely raise funds for charity.
You’ve got to look at the situation. This particular person, though, had manipulated things a lot in the past. So it was more an example, potentially, of their character from the past shining through, and therefore people not necessarily looking at them as being a genuine and honest type of business.
08:45 Maybe some people just want the pat on the back to feel good
Some of the other reasons of not communicating whether you are donating something or not is not just because it brings into question whether you’re doing it for personal gain, but also it is that kind of thing well, are you just doing this to get a pat the back and make yourself feel good and you need that validation from others. Because that can be seen as a bit of a rescuer type drama triangle. So it’s actually connected with people that are potentially victims.
09:14 Genuinely help without expecting a thank you
So it actually can be a bit of an issue, and it’s something to be wary of. So if you do something genuinely just to help somebody and genuinely, that’s what you do it for. Awesome. But if you actually do something and then you get upset that the person hasn’t said thank you, that can mean that you’re caught up in a bit of this drama triangle. Just got to be a little bit mindful of that.
Whether or not to share or not becomes kind of difficult because again, you get trolls on social media that go oi, all you’re doing this for us just to get attention, ra, ra, ra. And the thing is, ignore the trolls don’t worry about them so much. But here’s an example of a time when something went brilliantly by communicating it. And that was a post that was initially shared by The Digital Picnic.
10:03 Sometimes communicating your charitable donation can have a positive outcome
The Digital Picnic is run by a lovely lady by the name of Cherie Clonan. Now, she talks about a number of pillars of content that are not related at all to digital marketing, and they’re very much related to being a good human and doing good in the world and that type of thing. One thing, though, is that Cherie’s background she was a victim of a domestic violence household, and therefore, she moved around foster homes and things like that. So she’d had a pretty rough upbringing herself.
10:38 Donating $21,000 for apartment that ended up mainly helping one person
When she got to the point where she’s running a multi-million dollar business, she sort of, okay, how can I give back? How can my business give back? And one of the things she did was to invest $21,000, very specific, but that was the amount to cover the rent for an apartment. And that apartment was to house domestic violence victims that were coming out of a bad relationship and needed somewhere to hide, effectively.
So it was meant to be as a place that could churn over. But she had situations like one recently where the person that went into the home, into the apartment was a person that then went into study and things. And so in that case, they actually decided to keep the person in the place for an extended period of time. So great, you’re really touching the life of one person, but it’s only one person.
11:37 At first the apartment was kept quiet
Now the thing was initially, Cherie didn’t let people know about this apartment. In fact, I think it was for a full year or something before she even told anyone about, it was called a secret apartment.
11:47 When the apartment was communicated on social media it gained a lot of interest
However, what she did was when she put this post up, it went on to four different platforms that she’s on, and it had millions of views. The great thing about a post going viral and getting millions of views is that there’s going to be some people in there that it really connects with, and it really touches, but also combined with people that can actually make a difference. And this is exactly what happened.
12:15 Other businesses followed and then instead of just 1 person 92 people are helped
Some businesses that were following her or people in businesses that were following her she ended up with three at least multi-billion dollar global companies seeing her posts, loving what she was doing and going, oh, my gosh, if she can do that, why aren’t we doing that? And so those companies reached out and partnered with the same organisation that she’d arranged her apartment with and they provided 91 additional apartments, 91 apartments, all because Cherie put up this post and she made the situation aware.
12:56 People didn’t even realise this was a way to help until they saw the story
We now knew that this was an option, that you could pay for an apartment and have people looked after for a period of time and feel safe. So that was something that was hugely beneficial that she happened to tell that story. Because she told it these people saw it and then they went and did it on a much bigger scale. So her little one apartment became 92 apartments.
13:24 This is a great example of when getting the message out helped
That is so many more people that she can help, but it also means she could keep her apartment for a single person and really, really deeply helping them rather than superficially helping a lot of people. So that was a really good one. So that is an example of where, yes, shutting up doesn’t actually help. It really does help to get the message out.
13:47 Variety helps children suffering from hair loss with the donation of real hair
And even with the hair chop one, as I said earlier by me telling people about the fact that, hey, yeah, it’s awesome to give your hair to Variety because it is for children. There might be children suffering from leukaemia or some other condition where they have lost their hair. And what that means, though, is they get a wig that is actually proper human hair, but it’s also a wig that’s long enough for them to actually style it. They can still have ponytails and they can do plaits and things, whereas if the hair is short, like mine now is post my chop, there is not a huge amount of styling that can be done with it.
14:28 There are alternate options if you don’t have the right hair for Variety
So this was fantastic to make people aware that, hey, although that’s the Holy Grail, there is a couple of other options. In Australia, we have sustainable salons and they do dyed hair and hair that’s as short as 20 centimetres, which is a lot different from Variety. So their rules are a lot less strict than Variety’s rules are, which are very strict.
And then you’ve got another charity that does hats or beanies and things with some hair below them, so it makes it look like you’ve got hair sticking out. And obviously that can be much shorter again.
So there are options and by me telling people about this, then I think most people know about Variety and what they do and the great stuff they do, but they don’t necessarily know about the other options for people that want to donate their hair.
15:22 Where did my volunteering journey start?
Now, just to give you a little backstory, though, where did my volunteering journey start? And I’m very much a person that prefers to give a hand up rather than a handout and I think that kind of goes with why I tend to more volunteer than give money to charity.
So volunteering and charities I’m currently working with, so obviously I do one-off things like the hair chop. I’ve been contacted on LinkedIn to speak at an event with new business owners from a very disadvantaged space and I’m more than happy to do that sort of thing. As I talked about in the Exposure podcast that I did, I’m more than happy to do stuff like that.
16:04 Have to consider the time and cost of volunteering
If it’s something that I feel really gives something and particularly where I can do it remotely, it really makes it quite manageable. If you have to travel to something, it can be a little bit more tricky because obviously there’s physical costs outlay, but more importantly it’s just time and time is something that is very poor in my world at the moment, but also regular things I’m doing at the moment I am on the board of the Hawkesbury Financial Services Limited and I am what’s called a volunteer community bank director.
16:36 Community volunteer bank director with Bendigo
So we partner with or JV with Bendigo so Bendigo Adelaide Bank and they or we together therefore run the Bendigo Community Banks of North Richmond and Districts and Richmond. So we run those two branches in the Hawkesbury.
16:57 Bendigo Bank has given millions back to the community
And the great thing about that is that we have given millions back to the community, millions of dollars worth of grants to things like schools, to sports teams, to potentially domestic violence type situations. So all of those type of things, anything that is a grant related activity from a not for profit type space, we can certainly help out or at least consider that.
17:25 I get the benefit of staying connected to the banking space
It really also provides an extra benefit for me. It helps me to keep connected to the banking space, something that I have been involved in for nearly 20 years before I left to go into the small business space and it also lets me utilise my strategies type skills because we have sort of bi-annual strategy meetings, semi-annual strategy meetings, you know what I mean, twice a year, and I recognise that I’m not giving enough to this particular organisation. However, I can certainly rectify that in the future, so I want to spend a lot more time in the marketing side of things because there as opportunities in that space.
18:10 Also doing Max Potential Community Coaching program again
I’m also currently back for a fifth round after a three year hiatus from the Max Potential Community Coaching program. Unfortunately, the local program isn’t funded anymore in Penrith, which is a real pity, which means that I have to travel elsewhere to go do it.
So I’m currently part of the Cumberland program, which is fine, but as I mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t do it if I had to go every single meeting, every single connection session, whatever, if I had to go in person because it’s an extra hour and a half, 2 hours, no more than that, yeah, good 2 hours round trip in addition to the time at the session.
18:55 Couldn’t do it if I had to travel a lot but online sessions make it possible
So it’s just too much for me. I just don’t have the capacity in my calendar to fit that few extra hours, potentially twice a week. It’s just too much, I can’t do it. So I was really grateful when I saw that it was online and therefore that only four of the sessions need to be in person and the rest of them can be online. That made a huge difference to me.
19:16 Max Potential helps young people set up skills for life and I love seeing the results
The Max Potential community coaching certainly gives me as much as I give to it. So I work with a year eleven student and I really help them to work on their personal leadership skills and it’s really rewarding and I’ve done it, as I said four times before and it’s amazing when you see the results that you get with the young adults that you work with, it’s fantastic. And if we can get these people at that right age set up for skills that are going to carry them forward for life, it is awesome and I love it and I love seeing the results for it, genuinely love it, it’s amazing.
19:53 Benefit me with my ICF Accreditation and additional coaching techniques
On the flip side though, there’s also a lot of benefit for me. For a start, it can be training hours towards my ICF accreditation renewal, my International Coaching Federation professional certified coach status. So things like that can be useful to me from that perspective. It reminds me of certain things it teaches me potentially other ways of doing different coaching techniques so that can be really useful and I also get a coach throughout that as well. So that’s another benefit of it.
So there are definitely benefits to me and also you’re working on your own personal leadership as well at the same time, that’s the thing with anything we do right? There’s always something mirrored back to you.
20:41 I know someone who used to give and is now anti helping as they had been taken advantage of
Someone recently surprised me. They have been a person that has been quite anti helping people that are strangers, in part due to issues that they’ve had many years ago where they had been giving out hampers to people and some people were really taking advantage of it and taking the mickey with it and that really annoyed him and he just didn’t want to proceed with that anymore.
21:07 But they decided to give blood regularly
But recently he did something that made me really proud and really happy and he gives blood and giving blood you can only give blood every three months or so or whatever. It’s quite a big gap between appointments. However, if you give plasma, you can go much, much more regularly.
21:26 This then helped another connection of mine who needed blood regularly
And that is awesome because it was ironic that he did that when literally just before one of my connections has had a bad hangover, if you like, from Covid. So she has a primary immunodeficiency disorder which is actually primary immunodeficiency month this month in Australia. And what that means is that she has not recovered from Covid yet. She’s still in hospital she’s been in hospital for seven weeks.
My gosh, the poor thing. And she’s back on oxygen again. She was only off oxygen for a short amount of time when she was resting, but as soon as she stands up, her oxygen levels just drop. But now, even in bed, she’s back on oxygen. It’s just so sad.
22:19 They were also able to encourage other people from work to give as well
But people like her, they just don’t need a single one-off, you’ve had an accident and you need some blood. This is blood all the time or blood products all the time. So she needs a lot of that type of stuff. So she was really happy when she found out that another person was joining the queue. And not only that, but he got other people from his work to do it as well and formed a work group doing it, which is really awesome.
And I did, of course, wonder had my attitude rubbed off a little bit on him because it was a bit of a change in attitude, but it might have just been timing and he might have just decided that that was a good thing to do. I don’t know, but volunteering for me is always going to be something that I do.
23:11 I was six when I first started volunteering and collecting money door to door
I started when I was six years old and when I started, I was collecting money for charity. My next door neighbour was heavily involved in, back then it was called the Intellectually Handicapped children. They don’t tend to use those type of words anymore. Handicap is not seen as a good term, but, yeah, he was heavily involved in that program and so I would literally go and collect money with him and stuff when he was doing door to door door knocking back in those days.
23:40 I was also a Brownie and Girl Guide and helped care for the elderly
I started young in volunteering and I got very used to doing it. I was a Brownie and a Girl Guide and as part of that we would do a lot of volunteer type work. We went into old people’s homes and kept the old people company and things like that.
24:00 Involved in beach clean up with AXA Hearts in Action
So I’ve been involved in that throughout. I have done things like an AXA. AXA had a thing called Hearts in Action and you could be involved in that one. And we would do things like collect money on the streets and things for charities. We did a beach clean up day, so I did that.
24:19 Joined J.P. Morgan volunteer program
Moved to Australia, J. P. Morgan had a volunteer program as well. J.P. Morgan, I went into Granville and we really went and cleaned up a school. That was very funny because part of the job was painting, part of it was cleaning up, part of it was gardening. And I ended up in the gardening crew purely because most of the people had no idea how to garden.
They lived in apartments and things and they actually didn’t know how to garden, which I found quite amusing, given that I was from New Zealand and I had grandparents and that loved gardening. So it was definitely not going to be something that I didn’t know how to do, so that was quite fascinating.
24:59 Became involved with NAB charity events and volunteering
And then I went to NAB and NAB had a couple of days a year that you could use for charity type events or volunteering, so that was pretty cool. So I took advantage of that as well and they also had some organised things. So for instance, we went to Middle Head and we went and basically we’re digging up these corn things out of the ground, these weeds and it was just, that particular one I found a bit frustrating, it was good to get some education, but honestly we really didn’t do a lot.
25:34 Cooked Christmas dinner for missions and was treasurer for photo club
You didn’t feel like you’d walk away from the day and go, I achieved a lot today. I’ve also done things like cooking Christmas dinners for missions and things so all sorts of stuff over the years, so many different ways to give back. I was a volunteer in an incorporated association, I was the treasurer for the photo club.
25:57 Volunteering is part of who I am
I’ve done so many things over the years and it will always be part of me. It is just who I am. It’s something that I do. It’s ingrained in me so I just want to leave you with this, whether or not you tell anyone about it is volunteering something that you’re going to do and you are going to have in your life?
26:21 Thanks for listening today
Thank you for listening in today my name is Jane Tweedy and I’m the host of the FAQ Business Podcast.
26:33 Please remember to subscribe to the FAQ Business Podcast
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Today’s podcast episode featured our host Jane Tweedy. Her details are as follows:
Jane is a Professional Certified Coach with International Coaching Federation (PCC with ICF), business advisor and trainer. She loves working with growing small to medium business owners who are doing the right thing, to help them do it right! Currently, Jane offers at least 50 live sessions a year to train small business owners.
Jane offers a variety of services to clients and her online school and membership site went live late 2021. Jane’s focus for 2022 is building the membership and online school out further, and offering implementable small group training – something she finds is often the missing link.
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