Defining Your Vision of Community Service
In the world of corporate giving and community service, a lot of terms get used which can mean different things to different people. These include words such as humanity, altruism, community and caring. Far from being just a bunch of fluff, these words all carry a significant emotional component that can add weight to your community service initiatives and can inspire participants to achieve a greater impact.
Diving deep into these words and defining what they mean to you, your community, and the people you care about can help you bring your philanthropy and community service achievements to the next level.
What does humanity mean to you? One saying popularized by comic book legend Stan Lee that helps define this word is, “With great power comes great responsibility.” This expression is often used in the context of exceptional individuals, groups, or nations as a reminder of the onus they bear to use their power for the benefit of all.
From a broader perspective, it also applies universally to the entire human race. We all have been given great power and so we all bear a responsibility as individuals.
The cosmos has a grand and seemingly deterministic order about it, like a very large and complex machine working within a very specific set of parameters and programmed rules. Life, and particularly human life, seems to represent an anomaly within this order.
So while there are myriad possible definitions and interpretations of the word humanity, many of them can be boiled down to a fundamental concept: Humanity is the ability to alter the course of the cosmos and, in effect, change the world.
Altruism is another term that carries a lot of emotional heft in the world of community service. This concept of selflessness is deeply integrated in the human psyche, the product of millions of years of development as a species whose success revolves around social cooperation.
The most intrinsic form of altruism stems from the desire to be part of a strong community. It is also not surprising that a strong community operates as the basic framework to achieve success, whether as individuals, companies, or nations.
Altruism is such a powerful driver for giving back because most people derive emotional gratification from contributing to the strength and success of their communities, particularly through community service.
Exploring the concept of a community requires that we take a look at what defines a strong community. Again, this word has many possible definitions, but one of the most fundamental components of a strong community is simply caring for others.
Care is self-perpetuating, sort of a snowball effect that grows bigger from its own devices and works to counteract apathy and the resulting stagnation. For this reason, many countries around the world have actually institutionalized programs revolving around more or less mandatory community service for the purpose of bolstering the community foundation of caring.
The U.S. government does not push as hard in this area as many others, so the responsibility falls on the citizens to make community service happen. Thankfully for all of us, the tendency to voluntarily form associations and groups around a neighborhood, a charity, a business, or any other independent entity for the benefit of communities prevails strongly in American culture. As we continue to develop as a nation, the tendency to care for our communities on a global level has been spreading as well, helping to pave the way for a brighter tomorrow.
Many of these terms can apply directly to the definition of service and go toward answering a question we ask a lot here at Truist: What can you do to help shape a better world?
Perhaps the best way to help shape a better world is by frequently participating in community service and corporate volunteering. Depending on the resources at your disposal, the possibilities are endless and can be either direct or indirect.
At Truist, not only do we believe in responsibility, we also believe everyone, no matter the contribution, can help change the world. No matter what resource limitations you may have — finances, time, or otherwise — there are always ways you can help. Moreover, even a seemingly simple act can end up indirectly resulting in a surprisingly lasting or far-reaching result. We sometimes hear this referred to as “The Butterfly Effect.”
Like many things that make us feel good about our world, community service has an infectious quality that helps us spread other ideas as well, such as knowledge, concern, and empathy. These traits help us create happy, healthy communities, ones you can contribute to making better through community service.