My company LobsterPot Solutions gives quite a bit to charity. Sometimes it's working for reduced rates (or even free), but sometimes we give money directly.
A Seattle-based friend of mine has CML – one of the types of leukemia, and when I found out she was raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by running marathons through their Team In Training program, I wanted to help. LobsterPot donated money to her cause, and I had expected that might be the end of the matter.
Later, I was contacted for my company logo. It seems that the amount we gave was enough to have the logo printed on the backs of shirts. In fact, the LobsterPot logo is going to be worn by 170 people at races all season, including the Portland Half Marathon. As I was going to be within a few hours' drive of Portland on the day, I decided to check it out for myself.
I even entered the event – the Portland Half Marathon 2011.
I can't run. I had a back injury in 2003, which has stopped me being able to cope with the impact of running. But I walked it, in a purple shirt provided by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with the LobsterPot logo on the back. It took me over three hours to get around the distance, and although walking is good for my back, I was still very sore at the end.
Walking that course though, all 21km of it, I saw lots of purple shirts with LobsterPot claws on them, the wearers all encouraging each other to stay strong, and to finish. Many of these people, including my friend Yanni, are leukemia survivors, and it was inspiring.
So now I have a challenge for you. If you are a business owner, then find ways to give back. It doesn't have to be much, but it should be something. If you don't know anyone you can sponsor for this type of event, visit Yanni's fundraising page at http://tinyurl.com/HelpYanni. She's running a full marathon in January, and has just started raising funds.
Get yourself over to http://tinyurl.com/HelpYanni and see how to donate to her. Who knows – if you're a company there could be a hidden marketing value there. Three years ago she was told she had an incurable blood cancer. Just over a week ago, she completed a half-marathon. Isn't that the kind of spirit you want your company to reward?
But don't do it for yourself, do it for Yanni and those like her.