CHARITIES shouldn’t work.

Think about it:  We’re all quite busy, and we value our time too much to throw it away.

Yet, here we have it:  A charity asks for your time AND money, and we give it.  Not to every charity, of course, but to some.

Are we insane?  How could that possibly work?

Here’s the deal:  That charity is able to get you to devote significant time and money because they are indeed giving you something substantial in return:  A belief that you’re making a difference in the world.

And we are all seeking to have meaning in our lives.

The important concept here is to understand that each charity represents a cause.  Whether it’s to feed starving people, or to create housing, or to teach kids to read, or to bridge the gulf between God and man – it’s your belief in that cause which energizes you to give of yourself.

Whenever people find a cause that they’re engaged in, they give more than just what monetary compensation would suggest is a fair deal.  In the case of a charity cause, it can even be so powerful to reverse the flow of money entirely.  You’ll give – generously – with no expectation of anything coming back to you personally.  Except for the belief that you’re doing something important.

Let’s look at the example of people in the military.  Now that the US has a volunteer service, you’d think that they would have to pay people an incredible amount to convince people to literally put their lives on the line.

They do pay pretty well, but (in my estimation) it seems insufficient for what a soldier is giving.  What tips the balance is a deep belief that national and world security is one of the most important services to society.  How often does an ordinary person have the chance to make that kind of difference in the world?

So what can we learn from this?

If you want your employees to be engaged far beyond what you’re able to pay them, you can base your company on deep values and shared beliefs.  For the people who are attracted to that foundation, they’ll be willing to give you more than you’d ever expect.

Just don’t use this as a manipulative excuse to pay people less than the value they’re giving!  Presumably, that’s not one of the core values of your business.  If it is, you’re reading the wrong blog.