Create a Culture of Givers

Image Credit: Ilham Rahmansyah
Image Credit: Ilham Rahmansyah

By Jalene Bowersmith, Executive Director

These ideas are inspired by the General Session “Give and Take” at the ASAE Annual Meeting on August 10, 2014, presented by Adam Grant.

Adam Grant, author of “Give and Take,” says there are three kinds of people in the world: Takers, givers, and matchers. Takers try to get as much as possible from others. Givers go out of their way to support and help others with no strings attached. Matchers expect back what they give others.

A “giving” culture is a great atmosphere to cultivate in your organization. Here are some ideas on how you can promote “giving” in your office.

  • Fast action! Find quick and easy 5-minute acts of giving. Look for opportunities that bring high value, such as praise and recognizing givers, with a low investment of your time. This maximizes your giving without sapping your energy or hurting your own productivity.
  • Lead by example. Remember to ask for help so others have an opportunity to give.
  • Reward the givers. Change the reward systems to also recognize those that contribute to others’ successes rather than only those that strive to succeed on their own or possibly step over others to achieve success.
  • Start a Reciprocity Ring. Get a group together and instruct everyone has to ask for help with one project or task they are working on.
  • Remind team members that it’s a good thing to ask for help. Odds are, most people are willing to help if they are asked to assist.

Now that we’re in the mindset of helping each other, who should you ask for help?

  • If you have a “normal” project, stay close. Check with close contacts first because you know the same people and do similar things. Close contacts often can easily integrate into your project with little or no preparation.
  • If you’re doing something new, think outside of the box! Distance contacts have more of an effect when you reach out for something new because they know different people and do different things. Who is outside of your normal circle that could help?
  • Get the best of both worlds by reconnecting. Activate dormant ties, colleagues or friends that you haven’t connected with for a while. This will achieve “close” contacts you once knew and have something in common with, but who now know different people and do different things.


Want to know more about association management? Contact us to find out more about what IMI Association Executives can do for your organization.

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