Lazy Philanthropy & the Art of Storytelling
They had me at coffee and buffet breakfast, and when Jess Young from the Give Where You Live Foundation asked me to sit on the panel for the BIG Blitz Breakfast there wasn't any way I was going to say no.
The Business Investing in Geelong (BIG) program is one I have a lot of time for. Mainly because I think it solves some of the problems faced by businesses wanting to contribute but finding it hard to do that when they are paddling so furiously just to keep navigating the vicissitudes of doing business in fast changing times. How? We know money donated to Give Where You Live stays in Geelong and is funnelled to community service providers tackling the really hard stuff.
For me personally, supporting Give Where You Live means I can indulge in lazy philanthropy, knowing that my money is doing good things and that I don't have to think too hard (at all, let's be honest) about how I best direct that spend or field calls/emails/social media campaigns tapping on my highly responsive sense of guilt for being okay when I know so many aren't.
This breakfast, held on Thursday at the Novotel Geelong with around 70 local businesses politely waiting for the coffee line to progress, was also a chance to talk about how businesses can cut through the noise of a media and marketing-saturated world to talk about their business and what they have to offer.
Being able to bounce those ideas and insights off local PR guru Kylie Warne and the dulcet tones of Mark Hyland from Geelong Broadcasters was a lot of fun. What was even better was hearing afterwards that what we were talking about - about telling stories that have your customers at the very centre of them, telling them that you see their problems and are explaining how you can help solve or eliminate them, and that you do that by being a person that's talking to other people, not a business talking to a customer base with rote marketing messages that are boring to all of us, including you - was helpful to the people in the room with their own business problems to solve.
Together we can do good things, and if lazy philanthropy is your thing (and sorry Bill, I know that 'lazy philanthropy' is not your favourite way for me to explain what BIG is, but for me that's just what it is) then BIG just might be for you.
The program brings together small businesses, with each making a manageable monthly donation (from as little as $50) that together will make a BIG difference.
For further information on the Give Where You Live Foundation’s BIG Program, please visit givewhereyoulive.com.au or phone 5229 4634.
Photos: Lauren Cormack Photography