10/05/2011 12:43 pm ET Updated Dec 05, 2011

A Passion for Cause-related and Charitable Efforts

They say it's better to give than to receive.

Maybe it's me, but the power of that phrase seems to have lost a lot of its punch. It's become somewhat commercialized. Odd to say coming from someone in the business of "commercial content," but I really do think it's lost some of its soul.

So, one of the efforts we've undertaken at BBDO is something we call Soul Branding.

We've always been blessed to work with some of the best, most noble cause efforts, such as Save the Children, Autism Speaks, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Special Olympics. We do the work pro bono, but we benefit too. What we've found is that by inviting our people to engage in these efforts, they become more energized and more productive at work. Folks are happy to give more of their time, which actually helps them maximize their time on business.

A big shift happened when we applied the same approach to celebrate the "souls" of our core clients like Lowe's, FedEx, GE and Hyatt. For example, I love how Lowe's is not only a destination for me to spend my Saturday mornings, but it's also a place dedicated to the continual process of "self-improvement."

I connect to that because, in a way, I'm a work in progress, too. I'm interested in leaving a positive legacy. I want to make a difference and pave a better road ahead for those who follow. It's not just me; you hear more and more about this in the news, in speeches by leaders, statements from corporations and even from people you run into on the train.

I've always wanted to give back. And in a strange way, I feel guilty about it. Why? Because it makes me feel so darn good to do it.

I've chosen to get involved in several organizations: I work with great partners at the Police Athletic League of New York, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and the Center Excellence in Advertising at Howard University.

I do all this, yes, because it makes me feel good. But it's also good for the agency and can even be a great economic multiplier. The good we've done has come back in all kinds of ways. It didn't escape the attention of our new client, the American Red Cross, that we are a company that stands up and helps. Working with the Red Cross, you can see and feel that these are people on a selfless mission to help.

So, as we head into the holiday giving season, I think it's good to remember what another one of our soulful clients, Howard Schultz, often says: "We" is bigger than "me."

Giving connects people. Giving time, treasure or talent is something to feel great about, especially in an era when (let's face it) we can all use a good dose of giving.