How To Have An Even Bigger Impact In Your Community

Aug 25, 2020 | Leadership

Some landscape, lawn, or irrigation entrepreneurs relish their ability to make a large impact on their local community.

If that’s you, I am going to show you two ways you can have an even bigger impact – by turning small ripples into a tidal wave. 

Years ago, I met the current President of the National Association of Landscape Professionals, Shayne Newman, and we became good friends. He shared with me that the primary purpose behind growing his landscape business, Yard Apes in CT, was to give back to his community. 

He wanted to build a machine to have an extraordinary impact on where he lives and the people he works with. Yes, it ultimately grew his business brand into a local juggernaut. Call him shrewd, but he truly was not in it for the money, nor to build a business for his kids, nor for the joy of plants per se.

He has done many great things, and his employees love working for a company with a higher purpose; it gives them more meaning. 

That has always stuck with me.

Last week, I wrote about the Joy of Giving. For those of you who want to have an even bigger impact, I’d caution you on buying into these two myths surrounding charitable giving. 

Two Surprising Myths Regarding Charitable Giving

1. The first myth is “spread the wealth around to impact many charities”.

In truth, most companies like to help multiple charities, given all the stakeholders you are trying to please. I don’t blame you. 

But, to have the biggest impact, you would do better to pick one organization and go deep. Start learning about the underlying truths and dynamics of the cause. And build relationships with the people in charge.

In fact, if you make one charity a life-long cause, you will have the greatest impact of all.

Last month, I interviewed Jim McCutcheon (owner of High Grove Partners in Atlanta) on how he and his wife are doing just that. (Listen to my podcast with Jim to learn about their innovative approach to bringing micro-farms into urban areas.) 

I understand you may feel compelled to spread your wealth, so consider also going deeper on one life-long cause.

2. The second myth is “donate to charities with low overhead”. This is called efficiency, but ironically this lowers a charity’s effectiveness.

For a non-profit to make an outsized impact, it must raise serious funds, and this requires infrastructure and resources. Low overhead means they are more likely to stay small and underpowered.

Do your due diligence, but don’t be turned off by higher overhead charities. 

Your Challenge:

What comes first, making a lot of money in your company before you start to donate money, time, and services? Or make “giving” part of your company culture from the beginning?

Whichever you decide, find a cause you care about deeply and start helping out now.