Many people know I have a soft spot for animals. But far fewer people know that soft spot came from my mother.
Growing up, whenever there was a lost dog, stray cat, or wounded wild animal in the neighborhood, my mother would be the one who got the phone call about it—and the one who would come to its rescue. Likewise, she was heavily involved with Liberty Wildlife, a local nonprofit, and I grew up alongside the countless wild birds my mom volunteered to help raise.
These experiences contributed to my own love of animals (for evidence, look no further than the Instagram account I run for my rescued Greyhounds). But the influence of my mother’s selflessness extends beyond an appreciation for our furry and feathered friends. Her kindness inspired me to treasure the act of service—helping others when they need it, without expecting any personal gain.
This principle has stayed so close to my heart that when I started Miss Details, I knew one of my business’s core values needed to be Giving Back.
I’m fortunate enough to be in a place where I can regularly donate my time, energy, efforts, and money to both individuals and organizations. In this article, I want to shed some further light on what I do in the service of others, and why doing so is fundamental to the way I see my business and myself.
Giving Back to Animals
I’m proud to continue in my mother’s footsteps by donating my time and efforts to charities that help animals. I truly believe that the lives of all creatures on Earth—not just humans—are sacred, and I’m proud to do what I can to support the animals that bring so much joy to our lives.
Without a doubt, the animals that have brought the most joy to my life are greyhounds. I’ve had the privilege of being “adopted” by four of these delightful canine companions—two have passed away, and two live with me currently— and they provide me with so much happiness and laughter each and every day. So, it really feels like the least I can do to donate my services pro bono to Greyhound Gang, a 501 c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption of greyhounds.
I work directly with Claudia Presto, the owner of this organization, by helping her maintain her WordPress site and social media accounts. And when her ecommerce site failed her, I created a new one and trained her in how to use it. I was thrilled to receive Claudia’s positive testimonial of my work, but it’s even more rewarding to me to know that I’m playing a direct role in helping other people experience the same joy that my two greyhounds have brought to my life.
Beyond my work with Greyhound Gang, I take up collections of needed items for the Arizona Humane Society, the Arizona Animal Welfare League, and the ASPCA. I regularly donate a percentage of Miss Details’ profits to the Arizona Humane Society, and in the past I’ve served on one of their committees. I also support other smaller local shelters, such as Arizona Adopt a Greyhound, and larger global non-profits.
I take immense pride and satisfaction in knowing that by running my business, I’m able to support the causes I care most about. I encourage you to do the same, whether your preferred charity supports our furry friends or other worthy recipients.
Giving Back to People
Although many of the organizations I choose to give back to are animal rescue charities, my desire to engage in acts of service extends to individuals, as well. I’m genuinely passionate about the work I do, and it brings me a real sense of fulfillment to help others who are interested in my areas of expertise.
That’s why, in the past, I’ve dedicated much of my time and energy to being an unofficial mentor to marketing and design students. I work in a field where hands-on experience is of paramount importance, and I’m thrilled to have been able to provide that to passionate young people in the form of internships and informal coaching. Although it’s been a few years since I’ve had an official intern or mentee at Miss Details, I still regularly receive requests from friends, family, and acquaintances to speak with their kids about my profession, and I’m always happy to oblige.
I also enjoy offering my support and advice to other business owners. Of course, this can be a delicate line to walk, since business owners and entrepreneurs make up a large percentage of my paying clients. But I’ve generally found that in occasionally donating my expertise where I can, I actually help, rather than hinder, my business.
For example, I recently mentored a friend of mine who was just starting out with her own business. I knew she didn’t have much to go on, so I donated my strategic marketing services to help her get off the ground. I chose to help her in this way not only because she’s my friend, but because she really embodies the kindness and generosity of spirit I aim to infuse in my business. Furthermore, I know that she holds a genuine appreciation for what I’ve done to help her, and is more than willing to recommend my business to others looking for branding, marketing, and design services.
In this way, I truly believe that helping others where we can creates a positive feedback loop, allowing us to reach our goals much faster than we would have by going it alone.
Giving Back as a Mindset
I recognize that when compared to the sizable charitable donations of larger companies, what I do to give back doesn’t sound like a lot. But I consider “giving back” to be one of my core values not only because of the actions I take, but because of the mindset I keep throughout my work.
You see, I consider service to not only be about actions, but about mind and soul. It’s about positioning generosity of spirit as a top priority, and paying it forward wherever you can. And alongside this mindset of giving back comes a deep and profound gratitude for all the people who have made the effort to help me along my own path. In my mind, gratitude and generosity are inextricably intertwined.
I’ve also become quite good at recognizing other people who share this mindset. I’m fortunate enough to be able to have some level of selectiveness in who I choose to work with, and I overwhelmingly tend to collaborate with clients who appreciate the powerful joy, fulfillment, and gratitude that come with giving back to their communities.
For instance, I am proud to work with Magicians on Mission, a nonprofit that provides live entertainment to support the mental health of active duty military members at U.S. bases around the world. I immediately connected with the organization’s founder, Chris Rose, because I recognized his kindness and overwhelming generosity of spirit. Designing their brochures, presentations, and social media content not only allowed me to create a strong connection with a new client, but let me feel that I was contributing to their wonderful mission—and that was immensely rewarding.
Look for the Helpers
If there was ever any single person who embodied my core value of giving back, it was Mr. Rogers. The longtime children’s television host was famous for his deep selflessness and unerring graciousness. In one of his most well-known interviews, Mr. Rogers recalled how his mother used to encourage him to “Look for the helpers” in times of distress.
“If you look for the helpers,” he says, “you’ll know that there’s hope.”
I don’t necessarily expect to achieve the incredible positive impact that Mr. Rogers did in our society. But I do aspire, in my own small way, to become one of the helpers through continuing to give back.
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