Donations to worthy causes are fine - and at my company Talking Brand we regularly donate to three charities - but this week marked the beginning of a whole new approach to lending a helping hand.
You know how it feels when you get the idea of the perfect present for someone you care about, find it, and then give it to them...and they just love it too? When their face has that delighted, almost childish thrill - and not that awkward 'oh, fuck, I hate this but I have to be polite now' look?
Well, this week I had one of those moments.
(Warning: apparent meandering in this post. Stay with me. Please.)
This year I started boxing at the Sydney Uni Boxing Club, conveniently just down the street in temporary digs while they wait for their new facility at the Uni to be built. I love it. It's old school, gritty, tough - everything you think boxing training should be. Which is why, when I was roped in to being the Publicity Officer a few weeks ago at the AGM and they told me they needed a new website, I had an immediate vision of what we needed to do.
Roll forward to this week, and we launched the new site complete with a series of videos cut from footage my team shot one night during training. They are exactly as I imagined. And what's more, the guys at boxing love them too. Here's what one of the other office bearers wrote in an email to me:
Superb work, very professional. Videos deserving of the palm d'or. Evocative story with music and intriguing characters. Michael looking every inch the Vinnie Jones tough hombre hero. Amanda looking the super cool athletic spy. Joel looks every inch the regimental sergeant major who stared down a civil uprising. Many thanks Amanda. Fantastic work the club members will be ecstatic.
Add that to the looks on people's faces (and the likes on Facebook - less thrilling) and you can't help but feel great about what you did. And on the subject of doing, a great big shout out to my team Pat - camera, editing, original music and ideas, Carlos - camera, editing review and ideas, and Vic - editing review and great feedback.
So here's my latest idea, which takes us back to where I began with this story. We're still going to continue donating to Medecins San Frontieres, buying Xmas gifts 'for' clients of chickens, goats and canoes for people in need around the world (Oxfam), and being a Monika's Doggie Rescue Lifesaver.
However now, I have decided, we're also going to choose 6 or so charities a year and go make something for them. It may be a video with a social media campaign, or a new website or whatever; the point is that we're in a position to make a contribution that has a potentially far bigger effect than our dollars can. And we can have a bit of fun doing it. I mean, we loved doing the boxing one. It's our craft, and it's nice to give something away that you made, too.
So, Monika's Doggie Rescue is going to be the next cab off the rank (they don't know that yet so sssh) and then after that,each member of the team gets to choose the charity or cause of their choice. The rough rule will be that we will need to do it only spending about a day each of our time on it per month, minimising direct external costs too.
As a way to make a social contribution, I feel good about it. What about you?