It never ceases to amaze me the organizations that go out of their way to reward individuals who do nothing but bash them. On the other hand, I’m delighted when I see companies who “get it” and support the people who support them. Here’s what it looks like:
- Businesses that buy products and services from their clients and customers
- Companies that support the sponsors of their meetings and conferences
- Organizations that give their volunteers the chance to bid for business
It’s not naïve for people (or companies) to give time and money to organizations that align with their business. Happens all the time. Companies do this so they can demonstrate their expertise and commitment – in a very casual, non-salesy kind of way. The hope is that, when a need for products and services arises, they remember the volunteer.
What’s naïve is for the recipient of that pro bono work or financial gift to forget about the volunteer when they need something. Now, I’m not saying that you have to pay more for a product or service. Nor that you should accept crappy customer service. But when the time comes, people should look to the people (and companies) that have been supporting them day in and day out first. If they don’t get the job done, then fine…go wherever you need to go.
When I was the volunteer president of a non-profit organization, I made sure that “support the people who support you” was our mantra. We bought from the companies that supported our conference. We encouraged members to buy from sponsors and exhibitors. Our conference partners always appreciated it and said one of the reasons they continued to support the organization was because we supported them.
Sure, you could figure it’s somebody else’s responsibility to do that. After all, you like your current vendor and it’s too much trouble to switch now even though they don’t sponsor your professional functions. Just don’t be surprised when the cost to attend events increases or volunteers have to pay their own expenses because sponsorships have dropped off.
Lots of companies are vying for people’s attention right now. Get to know the people who are supporting you. And be sure to show them the support they’ve earned.