CEO Blog

Category Archives: Charitable Giving

All blog posts by Kevin Dee, Chairman at Eagle — Canada’s premier staffing agency, related to charitable giving.

Guest Blog – Picking up the Pace of Giving

The following was written by a friend of mine, Jim Stechyson a successful businessman in the Ottawa scene for many years.
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Inspiration

Last night I attended the annual Fight for the Cure event in Ottawa – an amateur and “white collar” boxing event dedicated to raising funds for cancer patients and their families in the Ottawa area.

The fundraiser was a first class event organized by a group of entrepreneurs in their mid twenties who are already thinking about how they can give back to their community at such an early stage of their careers! There’s inspiration for you!

My good friend Kevin Dee was one of eight local business executives who volunteered his time (and body!) to get in the ring and compete against another fellow exec in a friendly match mixed in with the amateur bouts.

I’ve attended many fundraisers over the years. They always have the objective of providing the attendees with a chance to socialize, have good time, and enjoy some entertainment and, of course, the opportunity to donate to the cause – So I pretty much expected the same with FFTC. What I didn’t expect was to walk from the evening feeling an unusually high level of emotion.

Kevin’s was the fourth match of the evening. After watching the first “white collar fight” it was obvious that these “board room warriors” had taken the event very seriously and dedicated significant time to incorporate training into their busy schedules.

 So – why the emotion? To begin with, after going down once in the first round, the referee stopped the fight part way through the second – Kevin lost his match. Watching my friend fall to the canvas bothered me. It upset me…there…I said it. Of course the emotion would have been very different if the outcome had been the opposite and by the end of the evening I’m sure he was over it, Kev knew what he signed up for and saw it through to the end. Even if the outcome in the ring wasn’t what he’d hoped for he accomplished his greater goal by helping to raise money for a very worthwhile cause.

But, the fact is, I wasn’t over it. Watching my friend put himself through what he later told me was “one of the hardest physical workouts he’s ever endured” for the sake of charity helped me to realize that I’m not doing enough to give back and his performance last night inspired me. I’ve known Kev for almost 15 years and truly admire his passion but this time his commitment and generosity really hit home. I don’t plan to step into the ring – I`ll leave that to the “English Bulldog” but today I signed up for the Ride the Rideau fund raiser for Cancer research – a 100km bike ride along the Rideau River. Training starts tomorrow!!

We all have the capacity to give more back to our community in one way or another. Find your inspiration and get started!! Thanks for giving me mine Kev!
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Thanks Jim … you are a class act my friend!

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
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Giving Back at this Time of Year

Today I spent a fair bit of time sending holiday wishes (via email) to people I know … which includes people I see regularly and some that I haven’t seen for a while.

It is a cool exercise to go through … it is a reminder about people I have lost touch with, and that leads to some renewed efforts to get together.   I also hear back from people with little updates about what is happening in their lives … which is nice.  Its a reminder that whatever business you are in, it is the people that count … and relationships are important, even those that have lapsed a little.

Its an opportunity to re-connect

Its a chance to share some news.

Its a way to remind people that you do care about them. 

Its also a way to show what you are doing for others this holidays.  The Eagle message talks about our annual tradition of donating the money that we would have spent on cards and presents, to help the needy.  This year we donated $15,000 which means we have donated $75,000 to this cause over the last five years.  I have not heard of a client who felt that was a wrong decision because they wanted a card!  In fact quite the opposite … it has proven to be very popular.  

 Maybe your company could try doing something like that … donate money to charity instead of client presents and cards!!!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)

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Giving to Charity … How Much?

For many people the concept of giving back to society is not natural, and for some it is very natural. Likely those who take to it easily come from families where their parents gave, or they were influenced by people who gave.

I have blogged about “giving” many times … one of those was called Charitable Giving … Your Responsibility but if you look back through my blog entries (or search) you’ll find many references to charities.

The purpose today is to talk about how much … what is a reasonable amount to give based upon your income?

When we start out in our career it is a perfect time to begin developing the habit of giving … it doesn’t need to be a lot. But if you give $5 a month ($60 a year) that can make a difference in people’s lives, and it is not an amount that you will miss in your income … particularly because you could a tax receipt for it. (So really it only costs you about $40 in a year here in Canada).

As you progress through your career you could choose to increase your donations in line with your income, so if you get a 10% raise then give the charities a 10% raise too … here we are talking $6 a year (of which you get $2 back from the taxman). If you develop this habit then you will be contributing at a good level throughout your life.

What about people who come to the table late in life … it can be a little bit of sticker shock to suddenly add a $5,000 item to your spending but you can work up to it AND you can rationalise it AND it IS the right thing to do.

If you have a six figure income and are not giving at that $1,000 plus level then you probably should think about it. With the tax break it will only cost you 1/2% of your income, so really 1% of income should be a “no brainer” … give $2,000!

Go and visit the charities that get the money and see what great work they are doing.

Get involved and donate time to these charities, you’ll quickly develop an appreciation for “giving” and those who give.

Be generous if for no other reason than it WILL come back to you, in some way or other. The most successful people are typically generous with charities.

Last thought … if you have not given this much consideration in the past then make 2010 the year you start to give back to Canadian society … its the best in the world and it needs all of us to keep it that way.


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Giving back …

There are still a lot of Canadians with good well paying jobs, and successful Canadian Companies, who do not “give back” to the society that gives them that quality of life.

What does that mean … because we are all responsible for our own success, right? Why should we give back?

Yes we are the architects of our own destiny, so we need to earn our place in society … BUT if that society is not there then we cannot be successful.

Everything we do has to be put in context.

Our success comes in the Canadian economy, in Canadian communities, possibly through a Canadian education and Canadian experience.

So … would we be equally successful is we lived in a poorer nation, a nation at war, a nation that was not a part of the industrialised world?

What if Canadian society deteriorated into a “haves” and “have nots” society? Would we see anarchy in the streets, riots and political unrest, kidnappings and drug wars?

Our society is struggling to provide a social net for those who need help, and if those of us who can afford some money and/or some time give back to help that cause then we are really helping ourselves.

A society where everyone has a chance is a great place to be … we have that today, but we need to keep working at it, so everyone needs to do their bit.

That is a rational argument for giving back … the other answer is that you receive more rewards from giving than it costs you to give. For that answer you’ll just have to take a leap of faith and believe me … and the many other people who say the same thing.

Take a minute and read an old blog entry of mine … another dollar to charity.


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Another Dollar to Charity?

Robert Ingersoll quote about givingJust some of the benefits of giving to charity are that it makes you feels good, sets a great example for others and helps build strong communities.

Canadians generally are a very generous people, with many contributing regularly to charity through regular payroll deduction, through involvement in personal causes, through fund raising events and many other ways.

Some time ago a friend of mine was talking to his team (a large team of Federal Government employees) about the need to support our local community, and to give a few dollars back to help others. Afterwards a young employee came to see him.

“Is it really true that one dollar donated every pay can make a difference?”, she asked.

“Think about it” said my friend, “There are 30 million Canadians, if everyone gave a dollar from each pay cheque that could make a tremendous difference!”

She went away and signed up … and this young person, starting out in her career, with not a big income gives $5 twice a month from her pay cheque to help those who are less fortunate than her! That’s $120 a year … imagine if 30 million Canadians gave $120 a year. We could solve the social issues of homelessness, provide support and help to all battered women and children and make a huge difference in this society we call home.

Could you afford $5 twice a month?

Are you giving the same amount you gave a couple of years ago? Maybe you could ADD $5 twice a month.

Give generously, we all benefit from an improved community and we will reap personal benefits from the act of giving.

“If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.”  Bob Hope

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Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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The Rewards of Giving

Every now and then I am reminded about just why I support the many causes that I do … intellectually I know that it is appreciated, needed and absolutely the right thing to do. But at least once a year the participants of the MASC Young Authors and Illustrators Conference remind me how much difference a relatively small amount of money can make in a person’s life!

Each year I get hundreds of thank yous from the children who attend, many of which are funny, articulate, passionate and inspiring. Below is a letter from one of the past participants that demonstrates the enthusiasm I am talking about.

Wouldn’t you just love to bottle this passion!

Hello!

I would like to start by saying that your conference was the best – Not ‘One of The Best’ or ‘One of My Favourite’- but the BEST, MOST wonderful, MOST satisfying learning experience I have had, literally in years. We’re talking since I was around five. I AM NOT KIDDING!!! Under No Circumstances Is This Untrue, No Matter How Twisted The Situation, Or How Parallel The Universe, It Was The Best.

I have not learned anything in so long that gave me such inspiration or understanding, shaped with such colour. It just made me so… happy.

That sort of happiness allowed me to breathe again, instead of merely sucking in oxygen. The entire day was one deep, satisfying, alive sort of breath. I was really looking for one of those breaths, and school just wasn’t cutting it and I am so, SO, SO grateful to you, for allowing me to participate in MASC.

Next year I’ll be too old to come as a student to MASC, (I am sooooo glad I discovered you guys in time to do it this year.) but I would LOVE to volunteer, so if you are ever in need of a Shadow, or anything, I am here. I would also love to know any other ways I can repay everyone at MASC who gave me such wonderful opportunities.

MASC really refreshed my outlook on…well, everything, I guess, and you know what? I learned stuff. Really, actually learned. I learned about something I LOVE. I love writing. Thank you.

Robin.


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Leadership … and Charitable Giving

There IS a responsibility that goes with leadership, beyond a leader’s day job … more specifically as it relates to supporting the community. Anyone who has achieved a level of success has worked hard, studied, sacrificed and given a piece of their self to become a leader in their company or their community. It is easy for people in that position to feel that they deserve their success, they earned it and the rewards that they reap belong to them. And they would be right … to a point.

I contend that EVERYONE in our society has a duty to give something back to those who are less fortunate, to those who need a lending hand. Our children will be paying the price if we don’t get this right!

If you are a leader then your responsibility is even greater … you need to set an example! You need to give more … not just dollars, but time, energy and knowledge also! If our leaders are not willing to “ante up”, then why should anyone?

Wikipedia defines leadership as the ability to get people to follow voluntarily. A leader’s power is very clear in their day job, but this society of ours expects our leaders to apply that skill to greater things. Being a leader in your job is good, well done! But it really is just a start … all leaders need to be giving a little more.

OK I can hear you … you are busy! So am I! It doesn’t stop me from being involved in numerous charitable and community ventures. It certainly doesn’t stop me for encouraging my management team to be involved … to give back. I look around and am sometimes shocked at the great business leaders who are not visible in their communities.

If you are a leader then you have been blessed with success … give something back! Use some of your talents to make this a better world for all of us … your children will thank you, your neighbors will thank you and those people who really need your help will certainly thank you.

Postscript: If you want to read some of my previous blog entries around charitable giving, then here are some references:

In September I wrote about the United Way and the great work they do in our communities. If your perception of this organization is in any way dated you might want to find out what they are up to these days … you might be surprised.

In May last year I wrote about individual giving and developing the habit of supporting those who need our help.

A couple of years ago I wrote about corporate giving and gave an example of why my company supports one particular event.


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The Arts, Children, Giving … and Receiving!

Each year Eagle sponsors a very special event called the Young Authors and Illustrators Conference. It is a children’s event where this year 670 children each got to spend a day with “real” authors and illustrators, learning about their craft.

So what … you might say? How is that different from a day at school? What relevance does that have on a “business” blog?

1. MASC, the people who organise the event provide me with a report after the event, and include a sample of the 670 hand written cards from the participants. Comments like “Thanks you from the bottom of my heart …”; “You have made a lot of kids dreams come true!”; lots of words like “awesome”, “special”, “amazing”; are all indicators of what this kind of event means to these children.

So … one lesson from this blog to other company leaders is to give back to your community! It makes a difference, it is your responsibility, it is rewarding and your community benefits.

2. When I read those handwritten cards (last year one of them thanked “Dee Dawg”!) I can literally feel the enthusiasm. Some of the cards have drawings or use colours, others have well thought out messages, all demonstrating the creative side of the conference attendees. These children are our future, they will be the people running our companies and governments in years to come. It is important that we equip them with the tools to do the job … some of the things they learned through this conference included:

Passion. I talk about this a lot, but unless you can get passionate about something then you are not going to make a difference. These kids demonstrated passion, in spades!
Creativity. In all aspects of life, and especially in business, creativity is a huge asset. The arts are a great way to develop that “right brain” capability. The arts are also an area that more and more is being underfunded and under appreciated.
Commitment. All of the kids who attended this conference needed to apply and convince their school that they were worthy of missing a day of regular classes. I guess they needed to demonstrate some sales skills to achieve that!

Eagle has sponsored this event for a number of years but this was the first year that I have actually been able to make it to the event personally. As expected, it was fun and exciting to see such enthusiasm and energy amongst a large group of children. With all of the positives attached to this conference I will add the “feel good” grin I enjoyed as I read those cards on Friday … hence this blog entry!


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Charitable Giving – Your Responsibility?

Churchill quote on GivingIt took me a while to develop the habit of donating money to charities in a planned way. When I was new into the workforce it was not top of mind for me to give some of my very small income away to others. Today I tend to look at the world a little differently! I am very fortunate to be healthy, gainfully employed and living in one of the best countries in the World. I now think it is my responsibility as a good citizen to give something back, to help those who are less fortunate than me. This is a habit that I have cultivated over time and each year my wife and I plan out how much we will donate and to which causes.

Giving money to worthy causes should be a conscious choice and not a knee jerk reaction to being caught at a “weak moment” … although donating $10 $20 or even $100 here and there has become an expected part of my life!

Probably the first time I made a conscious decision to allot money on an annual basis was to the United Way through a payroll deduction scheme. A few dollars every payday certainly didn’t make a huge difference in my life and yet it can make a big difference for a charity. Many people will spend money every day on coffee without a second thought, so giving some dollars every month to charity should also come naturally.

How much should you give?

If you are new to the workforce I would suggest looking at your disposable income and make a contribution that isn’t going to hurt. If you gave $20 a month would that make a difference in your life? Could you give $25 or even $50 without feeling the pain … then do it!

Once this becomes part of your conscious decision making process then you can adjust your budget over time. Some people will apportion a percentage of their income to charity, while others will budget a certain dollar value on an annual basis. You have to be able to feel good about your donation and that will be different for everybody.

My message with this blog is to encourage everybody to give something to a good cause on a regular basis, and to make that just a natural part of being a good citizen. Start small, start now and make a difference … it really does feel good to help!

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Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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The Season of Giving

I read an article in the National Post on the weekend (also in the Ottawa Citizen) about charitable giving. There were some interesting statistics in the article …

– The average Canadian gives $400 to charity each year.
– Albertans give the most, on average $500 a year and Quebecers give least at $176, which is possibly a reflection of the difference in tax rates.
– The average US citizen gives $900US per year.
– 10% of Canadian donors account for 62% of all donations.
– Research seems to suggest that those who give are healthier, happier, more successful and earn more money.

This is a time of year when those who are struggling will feel it most. It is a time when people could really use a lift, a little bit of a helping hand. There will be a big demand on many charities at this time of year. Places like the food bank, snowsuit funds or any one of the many good charities will be stretched to the limit.

This is also a great time of year for people to give a little … it really does feel good to help others. Whether it is some money, some time, some food, some clothes or some other meaningful donation it will be appreciated.

My suggestion is to try to give just a little bit MORE … if you don’t currently give anything to charity then give a little bit. If you do give, then try to increase that giving maybe even 5% and it will make a huge difference if everyone did this.

There was another article that talked about how to give smarter and feel better, which had good advice for those wondering how to go about it in a meaningful way.

Why not try Kevin’s theory that the more you give the more you get! You don’t have to bet big on this … sometimes the positive feeling from helping out can be worth the $50 or $100 you give!


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