Why we wait to give back.
Have you ever noticed how hard it can be to get people to commit to giving to a charitable cause? I have. In fact, for years, it was very hard to get me to commit to a cause. Like many of us, I always thought it was noble when I would see friends, colleagues or the company I worked for commit to raising money for charity. I knew I always wanted to do it, but I was hesitant. I wasn't really sure which cause I wanted to put my time into. With life as busy as it can be, I felt like if I was going to do something, I really needed to believe in it...it had to have impacted me personally. Then one day it hit me...we often wait for a tragedy in our lives to trigger that personal connection to a specific cause. Upon realizing this, I thought to myself: No one wants to experience a personal tragedy much less be waiting for one! And if things go really well in my life (and we all hope they do), and it’s many years before a personal tragedy strikes, what then? Will I just wait and never get involved? How many good things will I never do while I am waiting? How many lives will I never impact while I drag my feet? I remember that day so clearly. I was working for The Loyalty Group at the time (now Loyalty One), also known as Airmiles (they do so much more than that now). The company was involved in the AIDS Walk every year and I decided I would join them this time. Why not? I mean, I didn’t know anyone who had AIDS. I didn’t even know anyone who had a family member impacted by AIDS. But my company was doing it...there it was in front of me on a silver platter. So, I did it and, boy, I was so glad I did! Not only did I end up raising about ten thousand dollars in pledges (holy crap that surprised me!!!!), but I got to meet others who were giving back and others still who were impacted by AIDS. At that point, I knew I would always be involved in giving to a cause in some way. While I had always been searching for that one cause that called to me personally, I finally realized that the very act of doing something with and for other people, was the most personal connection of all.
"I finally realized that the very act of doing something with and for other people, was the most personal connection of all."
So, if you are reading this and any of this seems familiar to you, don’t wait! Take the plunge! Do ONE THING. I promise you won’t regret it and you may find a hidden desire to do more. We are a wounded planet. We can use a little more love and a little more giving. 7.4 billion people on earth. 7.4 billion possible acts of kindness and giving. Can you imagine? Fast forward. In the coming years, I was involved in several charities and raised tens of thousands of dollars. Then, one day, it happened. I experienced that personal tragedy. My mother passed away. In the wake of that loss, I rechanneled all of my efforts into causes that linked back to her, to build her legacy. If you are on this site you probably know by now that it is called Unsung Heroes Productions and we do a lot of good. We work together to put on musical productions that raise money for leukemia, mental health and that help send kids from impoverished single family homes to summer camps. We have raised over $110,000 in the first three years and are poised to double that this year. I am so thrilled about the work we are doing in my mother’s name, but I am even more thrilled that my charitable journey started long before her passing. Long before this personal tragedy.
I hope anyone reading this who is hesitating on getting more involved with charity, who can relate, well I hope you all just take that step and do something. Anything! Of course, if you want to learn more about what we do, how to get involved as a sponsor, cast or crew, don't hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neal Dlin, Founder and Artistic Producer, Unsung Heroes Productions