It’s Time to Give Back

Dec 17, 2007

I can admit it. I’m a little “bah, humbug” about the upcoming holidays. I sure don’t need or want anything for myself I don’t already have. All of us in the Zweig family have so much— buying stuff just for the sake of buying is pretty much a chore. And our family probably isn’t too different from those of the majority of The Zweig Letter readers— with typical principals of firms making close to $200K a year, we all have a lot. The truth is, I’m probably not a complete “Scrooge.” I’m looking forward to having some time with the family that I might not be taking were it not for the holidays. My youngest daughter is just now old enough to get all excited about the whole thing. We’ll probably overdo it with her just like we did with my two older daughters. But perhaps the real answer to a gratifying holiday season doesn’t lie in excessive spending and consumption. It’s time for all of us who have so much to give back a little, and do something for someone who really needs it. Approach your giving with the same spirit in which you run your firm. Be the best you can be! Here’s more of what I mean: If you are doing a United Way or other similar charity campaign this year, set a new record for contributions raised. Talk it up at the highest level in the firm and set an example for giving that reflects your own personal capacity to give. And if secretly you don’t feel good about the charity your firm has traditionally sponsored, find a new charity that you do feel good about and support them. Do something different than you usually do. There are many different charities and people in need. My wife’s mothers’ group just collected new teddy bears for abused children. Some firms have built houses for Habitat for Humanity. Others staff the Christmas dinner at the local homeless shelter. There are a lot of possibilities. Get creative and think longer term. A local developer, Carmen Lehman, built a wedding chapel that she rents out for all kinds of functions. She then uses all the proceeds to provide fully-paid college scholarships. It’s an incredibly successful endeavor that she’d like to do in more locations. What could you do on your own that helps others? I read an article recently somewhere that talked about the fact that the companies who give the most are the most profitable. Some could argue that the reason they give more is because they can afford to. Others might build the case that, because they give more, they are viewed more positively by their employees and clients or customers. I’d like to believe it’s the latter. What goes around comes around! Originally published 12/17/2007

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.