Menu Join now Search

Social Responsibility for Professional Women

We all have at least one cause that’s dear to our hearts, a tragedy we’d like to help alleviate, an injustice we’d like to remedy, or an illness we’d like to cure. But it’s not easy to take time away from our hectic lives to raise money for charity, especially if we have a business to run. Yet we can use the business to raise funds for the charity, and the fundraising can actually help the business grow. How do we do it?

Believe in our cause, and utilize what we’ve already established in our businesses to advance our philanthropic goals.

I won’t lie. It takes time and a great deal of ingenuity. But it’s well worth the effort. By creating a partnership between your business and the cause of your heart, you create a symbiotic relationship that enhances both. The more you build your business, the more power you have to make an impact on those less fortunate, and the more you make a difference, the more successful your business will become.

Too good to be true? It’s not. Believing in your cause is at the very center. When my youngest son was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes nearly six years ago, I’d just seen the publication of my tenth book. I was a busy mother of five, helping my husband run our energy-conservation lighting company while fulfilling my writing contracts for two and sometimes three books a year. I had the deep desire to "save" my son and others like him from the devastating effects of diabetes, which is the fifth deadliest killer. But I didn’t know where to start. Neither did I think I could eek one more minute out of my day.

That all changed the night I went to a silent auction at my son’s elementary school. As I stood there, staring at all the fabulous items up for auction, it occurred to me that I already possessed the ability to make a difference and could do it in conjunction with my work.

I went home from that fundraiser so excited I couldn’t sleep. Because of my books, I’d already established a lot of traffic at my Web site. My idea was to utilize that traffic, to ask my readers to join forces with me in raising money to fight diabetes.

I did that via Brenda Novak’s Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research, which runs May 1–May 31st at The first year I raised $34,982; the second year, $62,700; the third year, $153,750 for a total of over $250,000 in just three events. And it all stemmed from my business, and my business grew along the way.

Can you do the same thing? Of course. The secret is simply this: You must feel absolutely passionate about the cause you choose, and that usually means there has to be a personal connection. It’s your passion that drives your philanthropic success—your business is just the vehicle.

Written originally for by businesswoman and best selling novelist, Brenda Novak.