Paying it forward is a series by Giles Cadman about his personal journey to finding ways to give back and make a difference. To read the first in the series, click here.
If you haven’t been following along in this series, not to worry. This series is about the philosophy of paying it forward and how this concept can be applied during times of disaster.
My last blog in this series was about paying it forward with small deeds, but this one will pertain more to the entrepreneurs and business people, so feel free to skip this one if it doesn’t relate to your personal situation - I won’t be offended!
When I was a young man, I was stranded in rural New Zealand. A kind man helped me without asking for anything in return, but to "pass it on" when the time came. After the horrible wreck that was Hurricane Irma, I was reminded of this concept again and want to use it to help others in these hard times.
We encourage you to give generously to help those in the BVI. However, I understand that as an entrepreneur, you may have a different skill set that can also be put to use! There are a number of ways you can pay it forward in a non-traditional and creative way. Here are just a few.
1. Consulting work
Consulting is a great way to give back as an entrepreneur. Consulting, or “skills-based volunteering,” produces valuable returns for the employers, employees, and the communities involved.
Entrepreneur or not, many of us have skills that are transferable. You can find ways to raise money for a cause or charity, cut operational costs, and find ways to better market and raise awareness for the cause you are passionate about.
I'm the first to admit there are things I'm not great at. But using my knowledge of business to help a charity? Now that’s something I can happily try my hand at.
2. Raising awareness using your network
This was something that I did in the lead-up and in the aftermath of Irma. I constantly posted about it, wrote about it on my blog, and even set up a fund calling for donations.
I did this for two reasons. Firstly, I'm always shocked and appalled at how little the media covers smaller island nations like the BVI. Sure, you probably heard a lot about Houston, but there were hardly any reports about what was happening in the BVI.
Secondly, I’m fortunate to have an influential network. Over the years I’ve had the privilege to meet and get to know many interesting people. Tweeting and posting about what has happened in the BVI helps put that message in front ofeyeballs that maybe wouldn’t have seen it without me drawing attention.
3. Donate food and supplies
Are you a business owner? Do you have extra food or supplies your business could donate? If you have your own business, you may not realize all of that extra stuff may be able to help a community in need.
Try to find out what’s needed for the charity or place that you want to help. Learn what items are in demand and see if you have anything to share that you could donate. We often don’t realize how fortunate we are and how much we could do without.
4. Volunteer your time off
Do you have a flexible schedule? Can you work from anywhere in the world? Or maybe, you have some vacation saved up that you could use to do some good. A volunteering-vacation might be something you could do to pay it forward and make a difference.
Do your research and find out which places need the most help. It will be an experience you will never forget.
5. Sit on a board of directors
Sitting on a board of directors and being able to give your input is a great way to stay involved in communities and issues that you care about. Giving your time in a more formalized way will allow you to give advice and participate in decision making.
These are all ways that I find effective in giving back to a community and paying it forward. Which do you think are the most useful? Do you have any ideas of your own to share? Comment and let me know.
Giles Cadman is Chairman of The Cadman Capital Group, a group of cohesive, complementary companies, operating in the international trade, retail, leisure, and investment markets. Learn more about Giles.