We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

—Winston Churchill

Two weeks ago, at the end of my blog on Impact I wrote this:

“Right now, you have a platform with an economic engine to change people’s world. It could be 10 people or 10,000. THIS right here is the most impactful time you have in your life to create and live by values that will change how others think, feel, and do.

You have a platform to change your world. You can foster relationships that last a lifetime, help families buy homes, support children, do good works, change neighborhoods and cities. Don’t wait for after it’s all over. Be intentional and DO IT NOW.”

I got an email back asking “HOW do I do this? I would love to do more but don’t know how.”

As a leader, you have the opportunity to leverage your business and leadership platform to significantly impact the lives of people in your wake, including employees, their families, your community, and even the world with your time, money, talent, and assets. One could use the concept of a “ripple effect”—when you hit the water, the energy and influence of your rippling waves can impact countless thousands of lives and beyond.

Great. How Mr. Ripple Effect?

Be refreshing.

In proverbs it says, a generous person will prosper, whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Are you refreshed in your impact and influence?

I’ve found for most businesses, it’s hard to come up with ideas beyond writing a check. I feel good when I write a check, but I’m not refreshed. It’s a dopamine hit. What’s beyond the check?

So, to help you brainstorm here’s a list of some typical and creative ways you and your company can create an impact for your employees, your families, your community, and the world. These are idea starters. The specifics and execution details will need to be tailored based on you and your company. This is over and above employee benefits.

The challenge is discerning what’s right for you, being creative in the planning, and then actually doing it. The hardest part is getting started.

Some practical tips as you start thinking about getting intentional about this:

What’s in your heart already? 

What are you passionate about? Where do you just need to light a match to stoke the fire? You will continually be refreshed when the impact you are having fills an ache or fire in your heart. Lean into what is already there.

For example, one owner was passionate about personal finance. The company paid for Dave Ramsey’s financial peace university for any employee who wanted to take it. Then as an incentive, gave employees $500 when they completed the program.

One employee, after taking the course, got completely out of debt and bought her first house. The impact on her, her family, and her company were high indeed and refreshing to both parties.

Start simple.

You don’t need to save the entire world on the first swing. These initiatives grow as you learn more about the needs of your team and community. What’s something simple that you can start with that is easy and impactful?

Here are some other ideas:

Run your company using your values. (and really do it)

This might be the easiest and most impactful for you and your employees. When your employees are engaged and trust you as the leader everyone wins. Countless books are written on this.

What will be on your leadership and company tombstone? Check out a recent Facebook post about Acumen’s founder, Drew Hiss, and his previous company (sorry Drew, had to do it!)

Check out the full post and all the comments here.

What would your employees post about you and your company 15 years from now? Will it be refreshing?

Benevolence fund

This is cash set aside to help employees who are in a rough spot. Privacy and dignity are key here. Another option is to allow employees to donate to the fund each pay period to facilitate team generosity. A company match of that giving is common. Then a committee of the employees decides on the grants. Yes it’s a “check” of sorts but it’s money that goes to people inside your four walls and they are some of the most important to you, aren’t they?

Double the impact

Matching up to a certain amount any gift that an employee donates to a charity and engages the entire company. The focus here isn’t on the check but on the company and community engagement which could include time and expertise.

  • Profit giving: Setting aside a percentage of profit to give to one particular charity each year voted on by the executive team or all employees.
  • Partner with a charity and set up volunteer days.

These are just a few ideas to get your wheels turning. I’m excited about what is to come for you and your employees (and their families). Here’s to influence and impact!