Mr. Stanley Marcus once told me, "Everybody is generous during good times, but only generous people give during hard times."
True words, indeed.
Today I gave a talk at an Easter Seals event in Palm Beach Florida. The fundraiser was aimed at local business leaders, and my task was to connect giving with good business. The message I delivered was: Don't give up on giving. Don't give up on giving your employees purpose. Don't give up on the responsibility revolution. If you gave in 2005, you should find a way to do it in late 2008.
Why is this possible, given the current business climate?
Because companies that give back have happier employees, engaged customers and good karma. Especially during hard times when all the good-times-Corporate-Charlies are bugging out and acting like a dog trying to protect his last bone.
If you want your company to honor its commitments to local charities or foundations, ask your employees to help 'raise the money' through cost cutting, giving up on certain items or matching funds. You'd be surprised how innovative they can be!
Here's another benefit: Giving is the cure for scarcity thinking. When you give, especially during tough times, you teach yourself that there is enough to go around. After contributing, you realize that you won't starve and life goes on. That's the value of charity, it teaches us the abundance mentality.
The other plus is that you help your people get our of misery and start learning to care about the less fortunate. Trust me, there are millions of people in this country that are much worse off than you, and need your help now more than ever. The exercise of giving will validate this and help you find more motivation, inspiration and drive when you get back to the office.