One thing I try to keep in mind with the Covid pandemic is that we are all figuring things out for the first time. As such, I don’t Monday morning quarterback the decisions of others, and I try to give as much patience and understanding as I can to the viewpoints of others. Many people are very anxious, and there are many who are much less concerned.
I do try, however, to always follow the idea that I learned from a very important mentor in my life: how can I make things better? That is, what can I do to make or contribute to good, to bettering the lives of others?
As a business owner, one who profits from my community, I feel I have a special responsibility to contribute to strengthening my community, to making it better. One way to look at what we can do is a “time-talent-treasure” perspective.
This would include working at a food bank, spending time cleaning up a roadside or helping an elderly neighbor with yard work or some home repairs. Time, for most business owners I know, is the most precious thing we have, but, for me, getting my hands dirty is often the most rewarding thing I can do. I know this can be a challenge in the era of social distancing and mask-wearing, but there are plenty of organizations in need.
This overlaps a lot with time. As a business owner, I make my living by gaining expertise in some areas and then selling my time to help other businesses. One way to give back to our community is to use that expertise, without remuneration, to help others. This might include pro bono consulting work, serving on a Board of Directors, or helping a person or group in need by donating services to others.
Treasure is money or something that has a monetary value. At Kona Impact, we donate many thousands of dollars a year in free or very low-cost services to local non-profits. We also give financial donations. We usually pick two or three non-profits a year to which we give significant support. We no longer write a lot of small checks and give small donations, as we want to deeply support organizations that closely align with our values and goals.
The needs of our community are probably greater than they have ever been. With widespread unemployment, kids not going to school every day, and the general anxiety many feel many can use some support or assistance. Start by reaching out to HOPE Services, the Salvation Army, your church, service clubs like the Lions or Rotary Clubs to get connected to people and groups that could use your time, talent, or treasure.