Be The Hero

When I woke up this morning, I went about my day as usual. I went for a jog, had a shower and ate breakfast while I caught up on some internets. I always like to check Twitter in the morning to see what I’ve missed. This morning there was some horrible news. Apparently, the Salvation Army was the victim of an awful crime. $2 million dollars worth of toys were stolen in an elaborate scheme. First I was disgusted by how horrible some people can be. My 2nd thought was realizing the great opportunity available for a quick thinking charitable business. When you can, be the hero.

Communities rally around emotional stories of need. I have no doubt that Canadians will come together to fill the void left by those responsible. But, the real opportunity is officially available for a smart business. Any national business should be chomping at the bit to give a large donation to this charity to become the hero. Stepping in and saving something this important does a few things for a company.

  • It humanizes – People see a big corporation in a personal way. Instead of being a faceless conglomerate it becomes an organization with heart.
  • It adds a sense of community – The business becomes more than a money hungry beast. It’s a necessary part of the fabric of the community.
  • It goes viral – I’d hate for this to sound too strategic. But, the honest fact is, charitable work that tells a good story sticks in people’s minds. They share the story. In the end, your yearly charitable donation becomes a powerful message. Just make sure you don’t push the limits of good taste. Let others speak for you. Nobody likes anyone who brags about themselves.

Some examples of business heroism

  • Outdoor Rinks in Toronto – In 2007 the City of Toronto didn’t have the funds to support opening the city’s outdoor rinks before Christmas. There was a huge public outcry. Mastercard stepped in quickly and donated the $160000 necessary to get them opened. It became national news.
  • Lisa Lampanelli – This comedian is a long time supporter of gay rights. So, in 2011 when an anti-gay rally was planned to coincide with her show in Topeka, she stated that she would donate $1000 to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Organization for every protestor that showed. It quelled the rally, it supplied a much need donation, and it made a powerful statement. Lemons  à  Lemonade.
  • Slave Lake Fire – Check out this link to see dozens of local businesses that made a big difference during the Slave Lake Fire.


There is a big caveat to all of this. I absolutely do not condone talking about your charitable initiatives in your advertising. Always let it grow organically. There is always something out there that your business can do to make a difference. It doesn’t have to be expensive. You can give time. You can help a whole city, one neighbourhood, or one family. Make your donations count. Make a difference in your community and people will recognize your business fondly.