Archive for the ‘cancer’ Category
There’s no doubt that being the owner of a small business puts you in the exalted / cursed position of being asked for stuff. A lot.
The local food bank. A friend who’s doing a fundraiser. A loyal customer who is hosting a silent auction. The business improvement association or chamber of commerce. An arts event. There will always be someone who will find you and ask for your help with their event. Usually by providing either money or stuff. Or possibly both.
In this (delinquent, but hopefully still useful) SMB 101 edition, how to sift through the endless list of requests, and how to help yourself while you’re helping others.
Question #1: “How do I deal with all these requests???”
There are a couple of things you can do. First off, you can set yourself a budget for both money and product sponsorships or giveaways. Then, keep track of what you’re doing with requesters, so you don’t find yourself wondering how you spent THAT much at the end of the year. This also gives you a great and reasonable way to turn people down. “I’m sorry, but we only have so much we can do, and we’ve done it.”
Second, you can ask people to submit requests in writing, so you can track those requests.
Third, you can set out some guidelines before you start accepting requests. Are you a believer in children’s charities? Maybe a Ronald McDonald House. Are you a cancer survivor (a cause close to my heart, or perhaps bladder)? Then perhaps you have a charity like Ottawa’s Maplesoft Centre you could help. What causes or issues resonate with you? Set out guidelines for people so they can understand what you’re interested in. You can be as restrictive or as free as you like. But when you have guidelines, you can point to those.
Finally, keep an eye on what your competitors are doing in the community. If an organization already has multiple supporters in your sector, maybe it’s time you struck out into a new segment and carved out your own niche.
Question #2: “What’s in this for me?”
Philanthropy is good, period. But there’s nothing wrong with helping yourself out while helping others, and there’s also nothing wrong with talking about your support of community events, causes, or charities.
So first, think about what sort of benefits you would like to see for your business from a donation or sponsorship. Is it a full sponsorship? Are you providing coffee and cookies for an event? Be fair, reasonable, and assertive in telling the organization asking for help that you’d like to get a little something too.
Second, don’t be shy. Talk about your supportive activities on your web site, your Facebook page, on Twitter — your social media activities can help the organizations you’re helping, and people ought to know that you’re a generous member of the community too.
Finally, if you are a business with physical visitors — retail or wholesale — think about some sort of display to celebrate your corporate generosity and your pride in associating with worthy causes.
What this all comes down to? You already know that you are going to be asked. So wouldn’t it make sense to think strategically about what you want to support and to what extent?
(Image cc licenced by Flickr user Meddygarnet)
(This is post number five in an ongoing series of posts aimed at providing practical advice for small businesspeople in the areas of public relations, communications and social media. If you ever need help with your small business… why not get in touch?)
First saw this via Joe Boughner, and by now it’s taken over the world.
Social media guy Drew Olanoff(right), who’s someone I’d never heard of, got diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on May 20.
And what’s he doing? Blaming it. For everything. Lost his keys? Cancer. Twitter down? Damn cancer. I love that. When I got diagnosed, I tried to be something like him. Most of the time I succeeded. But I didn’t do it this way, and I admire him for setting up Blame Drew’s Cancer and for encouraging people to blame THEIR troubles on his cancer. And for deciding to find companies to sponsor the site by donating per “blame”.
I plan on doing it a whole lot. Even Lance is doing it.
My favorite quote from his site: “I have cancer, but cancer doesn’t have me.”
And if you’re some huge corporate dude reading this post — please work a deal with Drew. It’s would be a very cool thing for you to do.
But last week, I found myself listening to Derek K. Miller’s late March podcast episode called “Life, Death, and the Blog,” and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
Some of you may be familiar with Derek for his musical exploits, his “Inside Home Recording” podcast, or his segments on “The Lab with Leo“, or from his day job at BC-based tech firm Navarik. But I began to take a particular interest in Derek when he found himself, like me, diagnosed with cancer.
Compared to him, I got off lucky. In the summer of 2006, I got diagonsed with superficial bladder cancer, an excellent cancer to get as long as you don’t mind some moderately painful and quite humiliating endoscopic procedures. So now, after a few of those procedures, I am clean as a whistle. Cancerwise. As far as I know.
Derek, on the other hand, found out in January 2007 that he had what has turned out to be Stage 4 metastatic colon cancer. This is not something that can be cured. It is being treated, with surgery, chemo, and radiation, but his situation and mine are very different.
One of the things that cancer does to a person is to stimulate thought. Sure, we’re all gonna die. But when you hear that word, the concept of ‘death’ goes from abstraction to reality. And that makes you think about a lot of things. In my case, it’s what pushed me to start holding house concerts. I’d talked about it forever, but all of a sudden, it seemed more important. It led to me changing jobs. It’s changed the way I view everything, in some profound ways.
And it appears it’s done the same for Derek. He’s been blogging and living online for even longer than me, and as of this month, I’ve been blogging for five years! In his talk to the editors, Derek talks about the fact that compared to previous generations, there is an incredibly rich archive of his thoughts, acts, images, sounds, online.
Imagine if Derek dies in five years, or two years. His children will have an immense repository of material that will allow them to understand just who their dad was. They will get a sense of what made him tick, of what made him happy, of how he lived, of how he died that will be made up of his words on the screen, of audio, of video, of images. In a way, I think it’s fair to say that Derek, and all of us who spend part of our lives in the cloud mind, are going to live on in a remarkable and new way beyond our physical lives.
Or will we?
As Derek points out in his talk, someone hosts all this material. Web servers, computers, etc. He asks the question of whether he should have a “digital executor” who would take charge of his “virtual estate” in the same way that an old-school executor administers property and possessions.
What is appropriate? Should people’s virtual lives remain online? Should they decay and disappear as a human body decays and disappears? I think that this is an amazingly profound question, and I wish I had the answer to it.
And although I’ve not met him in person and don’t know if I will, I have a wish for Derek — to continue to live to the full extent that his body and his mind allow him to, and to continue to enrich the lives of those he loves and who love him, and those, like me, who are fellow travellers on the sea of bits and bytes.
Music lovers within and without Canada are mourning the loss of Jeff Healey, who rocketed to fame as a fiery blues guitarist with a unique way of playing guitar and then chose to balance his personal life and his musical passion for old-time jazz and became known for that.
Healey died on Sunday, March 2nd, and had previously cancelled a concert at Centrepointe Theatre in Ottawa scheduled for March 1st.
In what I think was a VERY classy move, Centrepointe took a suggestion from a Jeff Healey fan who e-mailed them, and issued an e-mail blast to their mailing list titled “In honour of Jeff Healey.”The blast suggested that ticketholders take their refund and donate it to research into cancer, the disease that took Healey’s life.
What a great thing for them to do. It’s nice to see organizations move quickly and do the right thing. If they were to match the donation, that would be even better.