With Gratitude

I want to take a moment to thank all of my followers, readers, and supporters.  This journey has been incredible, and you have all made it so much more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the way "A Million Dollars In Change" has been received.  What's most exciting for me is the thought of all the good it can inspire.  I look forward to hearing from you as you read the book, and begin your journey of making your company a great place to work by making your community a better place to live!  I am always happy to connect with my readers and fellow writers/authors, so if you’re on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn give me a follow!  I promise I’ll follow back :)

To my fellow authors, those published and those who are still on the journey toward publishing their first book – have faith, stay the course, and remember the goal: write what you love.  Write because you have a story to tell and knowledge and experience to share.  Don’t write to become “rich and famous” (authors rarely do).  Do it because you have a burning desire to connect with people and make the world better.   If you stay true to your purpose the journey, even with its ups and downs (and there will be ups and downs), will be amazing.

PS – I just set up a YouTube channel for my videos.  You can access and subscribe to it here:

Alessandra Cavalluzzi - A Million Dollars In Change

Demystifying the World of Corporate Giving

There are so many different things to consider when starting a charitable giving program.  If you're new to the world of corporate giving, it could be quite overwhelming.  I recently wrote an article for CEO World magazine about this very topic.  In it I discuss some things to keep in mind as you begin your journey to help you stay the course - and keep your sanity!

Follow the link below to the article.  For more tips, pick up a copy of "A Million Dollars In Change" on amazon.com by clicking on the "Buy the Book" link on this site.  

http://ceoworld.biz/2018/06/22/fact-fiction-and-fear-demystifying-the-world-of-corporate-giving/

Purpose Is Key

How well do you know your company’s purpose, its reason for existing? Knowing your company is more than just knowing what types of products you manufacture or sell, what kind of services you offer, or the benefit plan your employees receive. What you need to know are your organization’s goals and objectives. You must understand your corporate culture, and why your company does what it does.

The reason it’s so important to begin with understanding your company’s purpose is because your program’s goals and objectives will need to be aligned with your company’s goals in order for you to create measurable and sustainable impact in your community.  You should take the time to get to know the decision makers at your company if you don’t know them already. What is their leadership style? Are they receptive to new ideas? What do they think about charitable causes and community service? It’s time to start these conversations and ask questions. Think of it as a fact-finding mission to gather intel you’ll use to create a community involvement program that will engage your employees and create impactful and measurable change in your community.

If you’re in an HR leadership role, you’ll be able to tap your senior leaders for their input and for the data you need. If you’re not in human resources, a good place to start having a conversation about starting a charitable giving and volunteer program would be with your HR leaders. First find out what, if anything, your company is currently doing on the philanthropy front.  Your colleagues are another excellent resource, and knowing what they think will help you tremendously.  Charitable giving and CSR help strengthen the connection between employees and their company. So you’ll definitely want to include employee feedback as part of your strategy. It will also help you determine the type of program that would be best received by employees. Once your program launches, you’ll need supporters, and showing your peers that you value their thoughts and opinions early on will help create that support team. Those supporters will play a key role throughout your process, from program launch to embedding giving into your company culture. Tell a group of your peers about your ideas and ask them if you can pick their brains a bit.

A word of advice: begin at the beginning. If you’re starting your program from scratch (which is where I was starting from), you’ll probably want to hold off on going the full CSR route, as that would be like going from a bicycle to a Ferrari, and it’s likely to get nixed by your leaders.  I go into detail about the difference between charitable giving and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programs in my book, "A Million Dollars In Change".  Start small. Identify the resources you already have at your disposal, and build from there. The big splashes will come later. Remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. If you want leadership to buy into your idea, you have to show that it’s doable, and more important, that it’s doable without breaking the bank. Remember, we’re going for a million dollars’ worth of positive, impactful change without having to actually spend a million dollars to achieve it!

Doing Something Beats Doing Nothing, Every Time

Myth: 

You need to invest a lot of money in a workplace giving program to do it right.

Reality:

Perhaps the biggest myth I’ve heard about starting a workplace giving program and the one that’s at the heart of why I wrote this book, is that you have to make a significant dollar investment to launch a program.  You will be happy to know that not only is this not true, but you can actually launch your program with little to no investment and still make an impact in your community.  How do I know?  Because that’s exactly what I did.

Many events, such as clothing and food drives, cost your company nothing and still benefit nonprofits and the people they serve.  Organizing a volunteer effort is also a no- or low-cost activity.  Starting your program off with these types of events has other benefits as well.  It gives you an opportunity to gauge employee interest, and in doing so allows you to gather data to build a case for future funding and program expansion.  Understand that there is no such thing as “not good enough” when it comes to giving.  Doing something trumps doing nothing any day. 

(From "A Million Dollars In Change: How to Engage Your Employees, Attract Top Talent, and Make the World a Better Place")

Interested in learning how your company can get started in creating impactful change in the community?  Order your copy of “A Million Dollars In Change” today by clicking on the "Book" tab and selecting "Buy".

We Have Lift-off!

Hey everyone!

I've been MIA on the blog the last few months.  Sorry about that, but I do have a good reason.  I was preparing for the launch and official release of "A Million Dollars In Change".  I'm excited to share with you that the book is now officially available for sale!  You can go here to order your copy:  http://www.alessandracavalluzzi.com/preorder-the-book/

It's been an amazing journey watching my vision come to life.  It's surreal, actually, to hold my book in my hands.  A great feeling, for sure, but I'm most excited about the potential it has to bring about impactful change both inside your company and out in the community.

I’ll be sharing some insight on the publishing journey in future blog posts for anyone who is interested in embarking on a writing career or publishing a book of their own.  It definitely requires time, patience, and a lot of hard work.  There will be peaks and valleys.   Things will go wrong, then they'll go right.  You'll create, revise, and revise again.  You'll have moments of excitement and moments of utter frustration.  Then everything will come together perfectly in the end.

More on that to follow.  In the meantime, I want to give you a heads-up about a group we’ve just created over on Facebook called "Million Dollar Change Agents".  It's a gathering place for anyone who wants to make their company a great place to work by making their community a better place to live.  We’ll be discussing how to put the tips and tactics outlined in “A Million Dollars In Change” into action.  The group is open to everyone, so come on over!  We’d love to have you.

Click the link below to be taken to the group page:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/milliondollarchange/groups/?ref=page_internal

Favorite Things: Books

When I'm not writing I can usually be found with my nose in a book.  I love to read, and winter is the time of year when I am able to catch up on my book addiction since the weather here in New York isn't always the most favorable.  What better way to spend a snow day or a frigid night than curled up with a mug of hot cocoa and a compelling page-turner?

I'm currently reading "The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.  The authors describe the book as follows:  "we explore why certain brief experiences can jolt us and elevate us and change us—and how we can learn to create such extraordinary moments in our life and work."

I'm really enjoying this book because it's chock full of practical advice and examples of how we can create amazing moments which benefit others (and ourselves in the process).   When I stop and think on it, serving others creates many such experiences.  The act of helping another person, showing compassion and caring, making someone feel that they are important, that they are not alone, is life changing.  Community service and giving create many moments just like these for the beneficiaries and the volunteers.  I highly recommend reading "The Power of Moments" and I will definitely incorporate some of these ideas in my day to day work.

What are some of your favorite books? Share below in comments!

PS - Have some old books around the house that are gently used?  Consider donating them to this awesome nonprofit:  www.thebookfairies.org

 

 

 

STARS

The holiday season is upon us. It’s a time of giving, and so naturally our awareness of non-profits and those in need is heightened during this time of the year. Holidays help shine a light on the many people who are in need of assistance, but it’s important to remember that our non-profits work tirelessly throughout the year to enrich the quality of life for so many in the communities where we live and work.   They accomplish amazing things but are very humble about it.  These organizations “fly under the radar” most of the time with virtually no recognition for their effort. 

Today’s blog post is dedicated to honoring all of the men and women (past and present) who work and volunteer as staff in the non-profit world.   These unsung heroes are champions for the greater good.   Or perhaps it’s more fitting to call them stars.  I say that not for the obvious reason, which is that they are top-notch at what they do; but because the star has a deeper symbolism for me.    

I think of a star as a symbol of hope.  When we see a bright star twinkling in the night sky our first thought is to make a wish.  We wish for something that is important to us, and we hope that our wish comes true.  I also associate stars with guidance.  For centuries, captains of vessels looked to the stars to help navigate their ships through uncharted waters.  They used the North Star to guide them safely to their destination.  Finally, I think of stars in terms of stability.  When we see that a business or establishment receives a five star rating we feel confident doing business with them because those stars indicate that they are dependable.  We know that we will be treated well and we’ll receive excellent service.

Hope.  Guidance.  Stability.  Excellent service.  All of these things are what our non-profits provide to the people and communities they serve every day.  So while they are champions, it is fitting that they should also be called stars. 

A heartfelt “thank you” to all of the non-profit organizations helping to make our communities a better place to live.  We are grateful for your commitment to creating impactful and lasting change in the global community. 

SHINE ON!

Moments

Moments define our lives.  Special moments.  Unforgettable moments.  They can change us, move us, inspire us.  Volunteering provides us with many of these.   Serving others has the power to transform our lives, and the world.  Volunteer today.  Follow the link below to find an opportunity in your area.

www.volunteermatch.org