Going over my profile, LinkedIn suggested posting a public commitment to my values. That’s easy for me, and seemed like a fine idea.
The short version…
It boils down to a few things to me: Welcome any honest and trustworthy person or business as a prospective client, without prejudice. Recognize the key economic importance of small businesses, schools, and nonprofits, and help them flourish by offering discounts. In times of need, volunteer. Find a worthwhile charity and donate when I’ve got a couple of extra bucks. These are not costs, they are wise and underappreciated investments that cost little and yield a return down the line.
The full details:
My consulting practice is a business. If your money is green and you are honest and trustworthy in your business relationships, and it would be mutually profitable for us to work together, then I welcome you as a prospective client. (And maybe still even if your money isn’t green.) There is no other criteria.
Everybody gets a fair shake and, if we’re a good professional fit and decide to work together, everybody—from an unpaid volunteer gig up to my biggest, most lucrative corporate client—gets equal dedication and my best efforts to help further their business interests and success, regardless of anything else.
However, as a responsible citizen I recognize the broad economy-wide benefits of certain kinds of organizations, and it is of value to me to support and encourage them.
I believe that 501(c)(3) nonprofits, educational organizations, and small businesses/sole proprietors are the root mycelium network that supports the towering forest of our society’s achievements, and every citizen, including me, is dependent on their overall health and contributions to our local economies.
Therefore, I have an incentive to help such organizations. While I don’t have a fixed rate structure determined prior to discussing project needs because every client’s budget and project needs are different, for organizations that clearly serve a social need, such as nonprofits, schools, and small family or sole-proprietor businesses (which I believe also serve a social need, in and of themselves) generally I try to offer my services at a 10%-20% discount to what I might charge to do comparable work for a larger client, in order to be even more cost-effective to them.
While I can’t promise availability in advance, I do invite anyone to contact me about volunteer opportunities to use my professional skills in service of beneficial nonprofit organizations that are in need but truly cannot afford to hire a consultant.
Similarly, for occasional very small tasks, in lieu of payment to me, under certain circumstances I have at times been willing to accept a commitment to a donation in like amount, or to myself donate 100% of my fee collected, to the only charity I publicly support, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation – https://www.cff.org/ (or by mutual agreement to a similarly beneficial organization). In my experience, the CFF are actively involved in science and other outreach efforts that directly improve the lives of Cystic Fibrosis sufferers, including that of a very dear friend of mine, whose life their research helped improve and even extend by several decades beyond the original estimated expectancy for sufferers of this terrible disease.
I don’t do these things because I’m a good person—although I like to think that I am—but rather, because I believe that, over the long run, it is of greater concrete benefit to me to do them than not to.
I didn’t run this statement by a lawyer or marketer, or copy off of internet boilerplate. These are just my personal, honest views. I welcome any thoughtful feedback.