The Voice recently had a unique experience that put into action the mission of “Speaking into Lives, Making People Better!“. With a group of colleagues, The Voice served lunch in a homeless center. The Voice gave. The center is not a stereotypical homeless shelter with overnight accommodations. Individuals must leave at the end of the day. However, during the day the center provides meals, shower facilities, washing machines, warmth in the winter, coolness in the summer, structure, safety and dignity.
Social commentators talk about people in this tough economy who are one paycheck from the street. But, who among us has really seen these people? The Voice has. They bring their children to a center for a hot meal. They are victims of substance abuse, violence, poor decisions and bad luck. Was the center located in a fancy suburban community or a ravaged urban ghetto? Does it matter? The fact is that you may find these neighbors in the local McDonald’s.
In the spirit of The Voice’s message, this experience illustrates a rallying point for a better tomorrow. Some people at the center have jobs. They may have not turned the corner, but they are running hard toward it. The center’s extremely competent manager was formally on the street. Volunteers give their time and resources so that the center can function efficiently. As in any transaction, each one recognizes their own return on investment for what they spend.
In this sense, giving is both an act of service and the delivery a service. The Voice did not monetize the service. There were no photo opportunities with the downtrodden. There will be no press release describing The Voice’s compassion for the hungry, as well as the exiled executive. No deal was done. In fact, the irony of anonymity is that no one knew The Voice was there. The people only saw a nameless, faceless volunteer who helped. Giving is not a transaction, but rather a life choice. One does not create value because one gave. One may create value because one gives. Successful sales people give much more value than their good or service could possibly deliver. The sale is a byproduct of the insight, resource, capability or good feeling that is delivered. Essentially, giving is its own reward.