Use Your Business as a Force for Good

March 26, 2010

I have been searching for a way to make a major contribution to my community in Washington, DC, and recently found it. I am now on the advisory board for the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind. In the year ahead I will chronicle my efforts to help them grow their program.

Sitting in an Advisory Board meeting last week, I was thinking hard about how I can leverage my resources to generate real income for the organization.  Listening to the plans for their upcoming summer camp I had a brainstorm.  In recent months I have been working with Hooks Book Events to organize a series of speeches that will promote my new book, Getting Change Right, which comes out May 17. We are planning many book-signings in the DC and Boston areas. Why not do a book-signing as a fundraiser for Columbia?

I can provide the books at cost (60% off retail), and we can convene the board, their spouses, and high-leverage stakeholders at a nominal cost – say $100/ticket. It’s an opportunity for stakeholders to shmooze, for everyone to give about $80 (after the cost of the book) to Columbia, and for me to meet all the local business players who are supporting Columbia. I will talk about the great work the Lighthouse is doing, and at the same time showcase my expertise. And we will send kids to camp. It seemed like a win-win-win.

And Tony Cancelosi, my good friend and the CEO of Columbia, thought so, too. Perry Hooks of Hooks Book Events has offered to run logistics at the event for free (after all, she will be meeting movers and shakers in DC as a result).  I am now planning with Tony and Kevin Locke, VP of Business Development at Columbia, how to turn the event into a huge success, pulling in 150 of their most valuable stakeholders. We will involve some of the kids, and when all is said and done raise $10-20,000 for the camp!

When the dust clears the kids are in camp and 150 of Washington DC’s best have a copy of my book and personal exposure to me.  How can you put this technique into action in your community?

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