The Business of Charity

Measure a person not by what they have but by what they do for others

Stephen R Taylor

As a young man, I was laser beam focused on business success, even from a very early age.  I recall my late father telling me that I did my first deal at 7 years old.  I used to love sitting next to him listening to him on the phone talking to his business associates often trying either to buy or sell properties.  There was one instance where they could not agree on a price and I apparently said ‘Dad’ why don’t you split the difference or words close to that sentiment.  So my passion for business, it’s fair to say, is in my DNA.  I longed for financial freedom wanting the ability to choose from the best of the best in all areas of my life.  I realise with age and hindsight that really all money is….. I bet you say lots of things other than the one thing it only buys and that is… Choice.  All money allows you to do is give you the opportunity to substitute A for B. More choice is undoubtedly nice but it also comes with its own problems.  So if money only buys choice then where is happiness in the equation?  Surely the ultimate goal must be happiness, and this definitely doesn’t come with more money.  I’ve seen some of the wealthiest people who are miserable, broken failed relationships and those that are friendly with them often hide their real motivation which is anything other than a true compromised friendship.  I often wonder if they lost their golden wings who’d really still be their friends!  

Anyway, I digress and want to get back on track. Business and charity are closely linked, although the link is most certainly not an obvious link.  There is an expression ‘you’ve got to give to get’ and I’ve held this value. My charitable activities started when I joined a young fundraising committee at age 16, helping to promote education for underprivileged children. We raised a small fortune for a group of 16-year-olds and went on to become a well-recognised fundraising committee raising over £650,000 in a few years.

So what does charitable giving have to with receiving? Well, there is a link, a strong link. If you are religious there is a commitment from God that if you give you receive with interest so actually just from just a business perspective giving to charity is a good business, but even if you are an atheist, I think that anyone, irrespective of their religious beliefs, will say that doing good deeds for others including charity work is a good way to live. I can say with total certainty that there have been amazing events that have occurred in my life, something that is way out of the ordinary, call it coincidence or a guiding helping invisible hand sent from above, but however you choose to view it, the outcomes were game-changing. Business is a strange thing where the effort and outcome are almost detached, which is an odd thing to write even though conventional wisdom states the exact opposite. Now of course there needs to be planned and sustained effort in the business world as in all other life situations like sport, but how many times has it been clearly seen that the outcome often defies the effort both for good and bad? I am obviously not advocating making no effort as that is just ridiculous but I think the effort we make is inside our control, and I firmly believe the outcome is pre-destined. How can you win the lottery without buying a ticket but buying a ticket does not guarantee you win the lottery!? The other aspect of unconditional giving is that you don’t expect to get it back, you do it for the pure and altruistic reason of improving and helping the charity to succeed and truly there is little to nothing else that compares to that feeling. If you actually get involved the sense of satisfaction is even greater. If you think about money and business and transpose all that it offers into your life, I truly believe that running a business offers you the opportunity to get involved in charities that would not have been possible without eh business vehicle. Giving does not always equal money, it can be more value actually offering time, help and advice to offer your business skills that may be needed to help them achieve new goals, grow and develop. After all,  when you move on from this physical world after your life’s allocation of time has expired all that is left and lives on after you are the good deeds you did for the betterment of this world.

Written by Stephen Taylor, Propaganda CEO

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