There is no muscle memory to writing a check. We forget about it just as soon as it’s cashed and unfortunately, we’re often too busy to even notice. But the people suffering without food, water or decent shelter do notice and it’s time to put an end to unconscious giving.
I started my conscious giving experience with Loaves & Fishes, an organization in Northern California that feeds folks in need. Conscious giving is the idea of being an active participant in service – not just giving money, but by actually doing something. It didn’t take long for me to realize the difficult tradeoffs the people coming to Loaves & Fishers were facing. Their own funds could cover their utility bills or warm meals – not both.
That year, rather than do another round of typical team building events with my EMC team, we closed our office for the day and spent time helping to feed members of our community who were in need. Not only were we doing something good for others, but we were doing something good for ourselves. The experience helped us grow closer as colleagues – working together to make a meaningful impact.
Shortly after it occurred to me that if an exercise as simple as donating a few hours could excite, invigorate and motivate a group of 60 employees, then why couldn’t we invite the participation of a larger constituency of our customers and partners?
Later that summer I ran a fundraising event that involved 250 EMC employees and 375 current and prospective customers and it changed the way people saw our business in our territory.
It demonstrated that we have a great business dynamic. Not because we give time and money ourselves, but because we looked to our stakeholders who are just as interested in doing good in their local communities to join the effort. Conscious giving is better together!
This year, we’re going big with an employee-led initiative called EMC Gives Back. With a focus on two of the world’s most basic and greatest human needs – food and water – we are committed to making meaningful and lasting social impact and to encouraging participation from our customers and partners as well.
To kick off our program, we’re partnering with charity: water a non-profit organization that brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. The charity: water model is founded on 100% of public donations going straight to the field, working with strong local partners on the ground to build and maintain water projects and proving water projects through reporting.
If you’re attending EMC World from May 5 – 8, be sure to swing by the EMC Gives Back Experience in the EMC Village. Not only will you learn about how to get involved, but you’ll be able to take part in a Waterwalk, a short walk carrying two 40-pound jerry cans full of water, something that women and children in developing nations do for hours each day to obtain water from a clean water source.
For every walk that an EMC World attendee completes, it will unlock a donation to fund clean water wells in Ethiopia. Additionally, on May 8th, charity: water CEO and Founder, Scott Harrison, will be delivering a heartfelt keynote about social entrepreneurship that is not to be missed.
EMC Gives Back builds upon our company’s existing corporate social responsibility efforts. We are proud to have been recognized as #1 for social impact and global competitiveness among computer companies in Fortune’s Most Admired 2014.
I look forward to seeing how the program evolves over time and I said it once already, but it is truly worth repeating – conscious giving is better together!