Donating Time vs. Money

In this season of giving and receiving, I wanted to share some thoughts around donations.

Over the past few decades, I have done a lot of volunteering. When I was underemployed, I volunteered. When I was overemployed, I volunteered.

Volunteering our time often has a longer lasting impact and imprint on people, including ourselves.

The first key is finding a channel for impact and value such as a person, an event or an organization we believe in.

The second key is being able to deliver value over time for this person, event or organization. You can confirm your belief of providing it by literally asking if it is helpful to them and then ask them to confirm how it is for them (versus a simple “yes” that can often be tokenized as a blanket answer to any volunteer).

The third key is the repeatable act of volunteering for this channel and/or others. Volunteering is not a checkbox, but rather a commitment and effort on your part.

So why volunteer vs. provide a handout of extra funds to said cause?

Both can help. don’t get me wrong. Often, I hear people talking about writing a check when they can not find the time, even though that sounds like poor time management. I believe the willingness to volunteer is lacking with many people and it extends to far more than helping the less fortunate or funding [fill in the blank].org

I recently listened to well-known philanthropist (billionaire) who analyzed the hundreds of places he funded with sizable donations and then measured the impact after a few years. The impact of those donations were so minimal, he stopped writing checks to most of them because it did not make a noticeable difference (or at least not to the level that was expected at the time). Many organizations are getting increasing criticism on the impact they deliver. Some are better documented and measured than others.

When I attended the VIP event after this interesting Question and Answer session with the philanthropist, the Dean of the business school where I volunteer some of my time as a startup advisor thanked me personally. While I fully realize a business school is a business as well, I am there to assist their efforts in providing unbiased advice to dozens of new startups a month throughout the university, well beyond the school of business or computer science.

The dean also asked why I do this. I simply prefer to donate my time than my money.  My time, advice and experience shared seem to have a longer lasting impact than any money I have ever donated.

In October 2017, I moved from the Washington DC area to the low country of Bluffton, South Carolina.

When I told the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship that I was moving the DC area where I commit to leaving the house by 6am to beat traffic from Dulles, VA  to College Park, MD, they immediately offered to keep me engaged through the use of an online mentoring platform so I could continue mentoring from anywhere in the world remotely.

Before moving, I made sure to find new venues to volunteer as a startup advisor in South Carolina.

I made sure those were available before finding a house to live in. Call it selfless maybe. I call it an opportunity to learn and share. Yes, that is right. I get to learn what gaps and challenges there are in the market today. Filling those gaps and challenges become a future lecture, my next book if there isn’t one that exists (like Keywording Now) or another business to fill that gap if there is a big enough market need for it. Find a solution to an existing problem.

That is why the first question I ask is “How can I help you?”

How do you donate your time?

What lasting impact do your efforts have where you volunteer?

What impact does your money have if you choose to donate?

Which will be remembered more?

 

 

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Tools I Use: Fiverr and Upwork

When I need creative or design work done such as book covers or logos, I rely on Fiverr.

When I need technical work done such as podcast editing or copyediting, I rely on Upwork.

I have used these services for a few years now because they provide great value and great results.

The quality of the results is based on the individuals you find and task.

Both resources have a lot of talented people you can find with reviews, ratings, and skills you are looking for. I often filter to the most experienced people in their field who are very actively doing their craft really well.

The rates are very reasonable and you can even pay per task completed.

Keep in mind the remote workers need some context to complete the task you assign to them. Most will iterate the work they produce if you present feedback on what needs enhancement and how.

Most will iterate the work they produce if you provide feedback on what needs enhancement so they have some direction.

Have you tried Fiverr or Upwork?  If so, how did you like it?

 

Tools I Use: Docusign

I stopped using an archaic FAX machine a while back because I don’t believe in using paper for anything.

I no longer run to an office supply store to get signed documents scanned into PDF format, emailed to the other parties and archived for my records.

I do not own a scanning printer because I am often traveling when I need access to it.

Instead, I use DocuSign. The best business investment I made for signing and sending documents in less than a minute. Someone emails you the document.

Here is wat happens. Someone emails you the document to be signed. Text to speech reads me the document aloud to understand the terms and conditions at any hour.  If I accept, I login into DocuSign, upload the document, e-sign the document as needed and email it back to whoever needs it.

E-signatures are more accepted in a court of law than some scrolly non-sense signature done with an ink pen. E-signatures are often geolocation stamped, time stamped, date stamped and IP address stamped. Not so much with a pen.

Have you tried Docusign?

Tools I Use: Text to Speech

text to speech

Previously, I wrote about dictation and transcription services I use for speech-to-text.

Now imagine getting anything on your computer read back to you.

There is a little-known tool available on most computers called text to speech.

Why do I use this little-known tool meant for accessibility? I am not illiterate nor blind, but I do use this often because my ears are available more than my eyes are.

This is the same reason I listen to audiobooks and podcasts. Ears can take constant input. Eyes are needed for many things to see around you, guide you and also read.

If I need to “read” an online article, email or document (like an ‘exciting’ contract), this will read aloud all text as-is. Your computer may have multiple voices to choose from to read this text Verbatim.

  1. Find ‘text to speech’ in your system preferences.
  2. Select a voice you want to read the text and the rate of speed for the machine to read it to you.
  3. Memorize the hot keys to hit to activate this function
  4. Select some text on your internet browser or within a document.
  5. Hit the hot keys.

It will read just about any text to you so you don’t miss it.

Yes, you can control the rate of how fast or slow you want text read to you.

I use this text to speech to do the first passes of editing and proofreading of my eBooks.

Audio is faster than typing or reading (I speak fast too). This is the same reason why I recently adopted and use an Amazon Echo Dot. I can ask Alexa any of its 15,000+ different ‘skills’ which includes continuing an audio book from Audible.

Some apps call it ‘read aloud’ feature. Adobe Acrobat has this feature to read PDFs back to you as well.

Have you tried using text to speech to save yourself time?