Go BIG & Do GOOD: Personal Branding via Charitable Acts

This week, I was contacted by a colleague who shared the story of Jason Trembly and his plans to sit on a raft for 36 hours in the middle of a NH river as a way to raise $36,000 for the charity he works for, the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Jason stepped in to sit on the raft after the person who was going to do it had to cancel. He’s being joined by Jason Perry, Marketing Director from the Verizon Wireless Arena who also agreed to hang out with Jay on the raft and help to raise money. These two amazing guys are giving up 36-48 hours to support Wish children who have had their time stolen from them. When I asked why Jason decided to do it, I was told by his colleague, Donna Parker, “The 36-hour event is being held in honor of all Wish families who are on their own life raft, waiting for life-changing news and support. We can make a difference by bringing hope, strength and joy into their lives through the power of a wish. Jason didn’t want that opportunity to pass us by just because we didn’t have someone for the raft.” Talk about commitment to his job and a cause! Of course it got me thinking... Two ways to show your community (and hiring managers) the stuff you are made of are to go BIG and do GOOD via charitable acts! First, Jason is doing something big. This is more than a fundraiser, this is him putting himself out there in a very visible, challenging manner. To me, that says a lot about his character. Second, he’s doing some serious good. If he raises his goal, that money will help to grant a half-dozen wishes of kids with life-threatening illnesses. Who doesn't respect someone who does that much for a worthy cause? I know for certain that all decent employers value talent that believes in helping others. If you are looking for work right now, ask yourself, “What have I done to demonstrate my ability to give?” You may not have money to donate, but you could do something creative like this as a way to show folks your ability to step up. I know what you are thinking: Isn’t that self-serving? I guess you can look at it that way. But candidly, the charity you choose to support won’t see it that way. Right now, non-profit organizations across the country are suffering. Donations are down thanks to the extended recession. They are desperately seeking ways to raise money. So, while you will be doing something to help your personal brand, the reality is the good you are doing for the charity is much bigger. Besides, it will make you feel good! You always hear people in the non-profit world say they don't do it for the money - and it's true! They do it for the satisfaction the work gives them. I’ve been co-chairing a charity event called Wish Racing for the last three years. It takes a lot of work, but it never fails to give me a huge sense of joy and satisfaction. Plus, it always puts life in perspective for me. I’ve also made amazing friends and met some incredible families. The time I spend on this project comes back to me 10-fold. I guess one could say that I selfishly volunteer for the way it makes me feel. So, what do you do to go BIG and do GOOD? Share your stories below and give readers some ideas of what charitable acts they can engage in to help others while also helping their personal brand. J.T. O’Donnell is the founder of CAREEREALISM.com and CEO of CareerHMO.com, a web-based career development company. Photo credit: Shutterstock

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