One of the most impressive things about Microsoft as a company and its employees is the generosity and willingness to change the world through "Giving". The month of October is the "Giving" month, where the company as a whole encourages all employees to consider giving time, money and hope to causes of their choice. Last year, I was fortunate to drive the "Give" campaign for Microsoft Business Division under the leadership of Jeff Raikes and it gave me an insight into a gamut of things that inspire people to give and "not" give.
I’ve thought deeply and have been fortunate to seek advice from some of the people that I admire, on "giving", precisely "How much should I give, when should I give and why?" Although it is a very personal choice, there are several factors that drive this decision for every individual. I like Bill Clinton’s explanation the best. From his book – "Giving" :-
We all give for a combination of reasons, rooted in what we think about the world in which we live and what we think about ourselves. We give because we think it will help people today or give our children a better future; because we feel morally obligated to do so out of religious or ethical convictions; because someone we know and respect asked us; or because someone we find it more rewarding and more enjoyable than spending more money on material possessions or more time on recreation or work.
When people don’t give, the reasons are simply reverse. They don’t believe what they could do would make a difference, either because their resources are limited or they’re convinced efforts to change other people’s lives and conditions are futile. They don’t feel morally obligated to give. No one has ever asked them to do so. And they’ll enjoy life more if they keep their money and time for themselves and their families.
I personally want to make a significant socio-economic impact on the world by creating and nurturing organizations/companies through entrepreneurship. Should I wait till I find my companies and then start "giving" or should I start spending some time now during my formative years as an entrepreneur?
I was fortunate to get an opportunity to ask this question to Bill and Melinda Gates, who are making a gigantic impact. Bill started the answer with an example of Rockefeller, who as a devout Methodist devoted 10% of his income to church (and related social activities). Rockefeller was able to compound the remaining 90% of his income in a dramatic manner and was able to make an even bigger impact at a later stage in his life. Bill’s advice was to continue focusing on activities (primarily career activities), that I’m most passionate about for the next decade or two, while keeping myself involved (although not 100%) in the causes that matter to me or the causes that excite me.
One of my goals in life has been to put my energies to eliminate poverty from the world. I believe firmly in the power of microfinance and the work that Unitus is doing to achieve that. I hate poverty. I love Unitus.
Giving back is an essence of entrepreneurship and I invite you to "Give" to the cause of your choice (of course, I would love if you join me in eliminating poverty through Unitus) this October.
Let’s go out and change the world.