You Don’t have to Quit to Give Back
There are lots of opportunities to give back and impact your community and the world with the knowledge and resources you’ve built throughout your career.
H. Ross Perot, the 88-year old billionaire businessman and former politician from Texas made a big impression on me and helped inspire the vision for Elevated Insights. You may remember Perot as the founder of EDS (Electronic Data Systems) or as the politician who incorporated infomercials and research-style charts into his campaign to educate American citizens on the national debt.
While Ross Perot surely doesn’t remember me personally, in 1989, in my role as President of the American Marketing Association at the University of Texas, I invited Mr. Perot to visit and address the 400+ undergraduate members of the AMA. During his talk at the university, Perot challenged each of us undergrads to change our community in whatever field we ended up pursuing – whether janitor, salesman, advertiser, market researcher, etc. Through his stories and fiery spirit, he motivated us to pursue excellence in our fields while seeking ways to give back and help our great country continue to move forward. A very inspirational talk, I can recall his words from nearly 30 years ago!
Here are 5 key ways Elevated Insights is heeding the to call make a difference – these approaches can be reapplied in many different industries:
1. Conducting for-profit research with excellence
By partnering with clients who seek to bring more joy, comfort, peace of mind or simply helpful solutions to their target customers or consumers, the craft of market research can improve lives and strengthen businesses. At the same time, simply participating in research can be a positive experience for many. We’ve received emails and thank you notes from study participants over the years who have shared that the monetary compensation and even ‘feeling heard’ has genuinely helped them.
2. Sharing our time and treasure, both locally and internationally
My mom, full of wisdom, has taught me that when you’re not in a season of life where you
can give time, you can usually provide money. And donations are genuinely needed! Particularly at this time, some nonprofits fear that the Giving Generation (which Millennials have been dubbed), in their desire to participate, may be less inclined to help move key causes forward monetarily.
Of course, service efforts are not only a great team-building effort, but can genuinely make a difference, especially as the size of your company grows. Elevated Insights has helped clean/ready RVs to provide affordable housing here in Colorado Springs, while also traveling teams to Nicaragua to provide needed medicine and provisions.
3. Aligning with nonprofits to provide easy donation options for respondent incentives
When using a sweepstakes model to encourage completed surveys, we’ve provided matching donations to a charity of each winner’s choice, and through the survey distribution, this has helped build awareness among thousands of respondents about local nonprofits.
Another option to help fund nonprofit causes is to offer simple ways for respondents to donate their incentive to nonprofits in lieu of receiving a gift card.
4. Offering pro bono marketing research
Elevated Insights donates one study each year to a worthy cause in our community. In 2017, we aligned with the Springs Rescue Mission to interview more than 50 panhandlers, helping Colorado Springs and the Mission understand panhandler challenges and identify how to better meet their needs. The key objective was to identify ways the shelter could draw more homeless off the street and into self-independence programs. Since sharing our findings with the mayor and the Downtown Partnership, concrete steps have been taken to change Colorado Springs’ strategy to assist these community members in need.
5. Producing syndicated research
When good data isn’t available and there’s a gap in understanding, research firms can produce syndicated studies. With this in mind, EI is seeking to identify key gaps in our country’s knowledge around issues of social importance. We will internally fund, design, conduct, and report on key findings, making information available to organizations who can most benefit and take action on these needs. Locally, we’ve launched AskCOS™, an annual syndicated study tracking resident satisfaction, priorities, local consumer confidence, substance use and perceptions, spending habits, and community desires.
Are you aware of a gap in understanding on an important cause that could benefit from research? If so, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll add your cause to our consideration set for syndicated research next year!
We hope this range of approaches to giving back encourages you to think outside the box for how to use your skills, knowledge, and company resources for good. There’s no need to quit your day job … so get back to work … at making a difference!