September is a month for giving at Wells Fargo – find your passion

September is a special month here at Wells Fargo. That’s because of our annual Community Support and United Way Campaign.  Our company has a 161 year tradition of giving, and while our team members contribute to communities all year long, we concentrate this month on encouraging them to make the biggest impact.

In a few short weeks, we’ve already raised nearly $47 million. Last year our team members gave $60.4 million – making us United Way Worldwide’s #1 workplace giving campaign in the U.S. for the fourth year in a row. I’m confident we can beat our record once again.

Jon Campbell (center) sorts clothes with team members at The Arc of Minnesota’s thrift store and donation center.

Jon Campbell (center) sorts clothes with team members at The Arc of Minnesota’s thrift store and donation center.

I’m inspired by the generous spirit of our team members. I’m also very proud of our long-standing work with United Way Worldwide (see video below), which is advancing the common good through the work it does with businesses and community leaders around the globe.

I first began working with the United Way over 30 years ago, when I was assigned to knock on the doors of large office buildings in St. Paul and ask for contributions. I’d never fundraised before, and I was scared to death. But it taught me to put the needs of my community ahead of my own.

Over the years, as I’ve volunteered and served on the boards of numerous nonprofits, I’ve also come to understand that giving is very personal. We all come to it in our own way. And we’re all at a different stage in the journey. No matter where you are along the road, I encourage you to take a few moments to think about what your community needs, and give some of yourself to it.  Here’s three big ways to contribute, inspired by this year’s Campaign theme of “Give. Inspire. Lead.”:

Give: Think about the causes most important to you, and give what you can. Financial gifts are crucial, but I’m not just talking about money. We each have specific gifts to give, whether it’s time, talent, or dollars. Just give something close to your heart and make a personal commitment. If you can’t write a check, pick up a hammer, spend the afternoon sorting clothes, coach a soccer team, or spend a few extra minutes listening to a friend in need. It all adds up.

Inspire: Giving is contagious. When you chase your passions, and give whatever you can, you’ll inspire others to do the same. We all have people who share our interests, or look up to us for inspiration. Your efforts can set off a chain reaction of generosity through our community. The result: a world with more givers giving more.

Lead:  Giving doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Foster the spirit of giving by educating others about your cause, and provide opportunities for them to join you.  Organize volunteer events or fundraisers. Encourage thoughtful conversations among friends, neighbors and colleagues about the needs in your community, and then brainstorm solutions. Consider lending your knowledge and talent to a nonprofit board, helping a good cause while growing as a person and learning new skills at the same time.

What does your community need? The short answer: You.  If you give, I promise your actions will inspire others, and lead the way to a better tomorrow for all of us.

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